What do I do if I don't work at an essential business and my boss still won't close?

Staff Writer Kate Wehlann

Several people have asked on social media what they should do if their place of work is not on the list of essential businesses, but their employers do not close.

During a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, a journalist asked Gov. Eric Holcomb what kind of enforcement there would be for non-essential businesses that were still operating despite the stay-at-home directive.

"Well, they shouldn't be," said Holcomb. "We're being as clear and blunt and serious about this as we can. This is not meant to be a hammer. This is meant to be instructional. We are asking for citizens' buy-in over the next two weeks. Of course, we understand we have the authority, but our law enforcement agencies are there to assist, and Superintendent Doug Carter's position, to serve and protect."

He said law enforcement won't be pulling people over to and from work, but if someone is "flaunting, we'll have to address that on a case by case basis."

Holcomb said he hopes employees concerned about still working when their company is not one of the types on the list of essential businesses will go first to their employers to make a clean breast of their concerns. He said if that doesn't work, employees should present the documentation from the state regarding what is and isn't essential. Following that, if action isn't taken to either close or spread employees out to allow for proper distancing, "we will want to know about that."

During another press conference Wednesday afternoon, Holcomb expanded on what he meant by that.

"Ultimately, they can file a complaint with IOSHA," he said. "I would, again, I don't live in fairy land, but I would hope that the employee would talk to the employer about that specific angst. At the very same time, employers need to understand we are advocating teleworking if at all possible. With some essential workers, I understand. We have put out guidance in our executive order, six or seven items, for if you are an essential worker, spread out, space out, so you can accommodate both your job and the job we have as a state to slow the spread. Ultimately, we do want to know about it and that would be the formal channel to file a report with IOSHA."

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