Holcomb Reimposes Limited COVID-19 Restrictions In Counties With Worsening Spread

Nov 11, 2020

Almost all of Indiana's counties are now at risk of at least moderate to high spread of COVID-19.

Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Wednesday he will reimpose some COVID-19 restrictions on counties failing to control spread of the virus.

Holcomb’s new executive order comes after weeks of inaction in the face of worsening COVID-19 numbers.

The state will use the color-coded COVID-19 map it updates weekly to determine what restrictions counties face.

“If your county is in orange, social gatherings of any kind – indoors or outdoors – are limited to 50 people … if your county is in red, social gatherings of any kind – indoors or outdoors – are limited to 25 people,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said.

But those restrictions don’t appear to apply to businesses or schools. And local health departments can still approve events that exceed those gathering limits, including sporting events.

Orange counties: 

  • Social gatherings of any kind are limited to 50 people
  • Special, seasonal or commercial events planned for more than 50 people require approval of a safety plan by the local health department
  • Attendance at winter indoor K-12 extracurricular and co-curricular events is limited to 25 percent capacity
  • Capacity in common areas and break rooms should be reduced and users should be socially distanced
  • Community rec sports leagues and tournaments may continue with attendance limited to participants, required personnel and parents/guardians only

Red counties: 

  • Social gatherings of any kind are limited to 25 people
  • Special, seasonal or commercial events planned for more than 25 people require approval of a safety plan by the local health department – college and professional sports are included.
  • Attendance at winter indoor K-12 extracurricular and co-curricular events is limited to participants, support personnel and parents/guardians
  • Local officials may consider limiting hours for the operation of bars, nightclubs and restaurants
  • Community rec sports leagues and tournaments may continue with attendance limited to participants, required personnel and parents/guardians only
  • Senior care activities are suspended
  • Hospitals, long-term care facilities and other congregate settings may impose visitation limits
  • Common areas and break rooms should be closed

Holcomb’s latest round of COVID-19 restrictions – like many that came before – also don’t apply to houses of worship. That’s despite state officials highlighting churches as a major source of the virus’s spread.

“But we do want to stress that this virus connects with people wherever they are when you let your guard down,” Holcomb said.

Box said she has respect and support for church services.

“I would say that of the top four or five contact tracing events that we have, there is a spike every week on Sunday related to church events,” Box said.

Box urges people in high-risk categories – older Hoosiers and those with underlying health conditions like heart disease and diabetes – to worship remotely, if possible.

Holcomb said the state will be more active in urging businesses to enforce mask-wearing, including posting signs about face coverings. But it’s unclear how extensive that enforcement will be.

“The ATC [Alcohol and Tobacco Commission], et cetera, Homeland Security will continue to take the posture and approach of education in terms of promoting the best practices,” Holcomb said.

The seven-day average for new COVID-19 cases has increased 447 percent since Holcomb moved to reopening Stage 5 in late September.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.