Gov. Holcomb addresses state Monday

Staff Writer Kate Wehlann

Holcomb showed this slide during his live address on Monday. It did not appear in the Facebook Live version of his address.

Holcomb showed this slide during his live address on Monday. It did not appear in the Facebook Live version of his address.

Holcomb showed this slide during his live address on Monday. It did not appear in the Facebook Live version of his address.

Announces executive order for people to stay home

During a live address Monday at noon, Governor Eric Holcomb said he has signed an executive order allowing the ATC to suspend any food and beverage licenses of businesses who violate the order to serve only drive-thru and carry out to customers.

“Last week, I directed that for restaurants to remain open, they must pivot to carry-out only,” said Holcomb. “Yet, a week later, we know that’s not being followed by all. And we know it only takes one bad apple to spoil the bushel.”

He said he also signed an order requiring Hoosiers to “hunker down,” saying other states have passed similar orders.

“Stay home,” he said. “Unless you’re going out on an essential errand, or essential work, or essential business … We’re all seeing the same trends and waves coming, especially in the (population) dense areas, but it is spreading to all counties. So stay home. Get groceries only when you need them and only buy what you need. I’m telling you, the next two weeks are critical — March 24 to April 7 — if we’re going to slow the spread and we must slow the spread.”

For more information on what the executive orders mean, specifically, has released this FAQ.

He made five points during his address, and thanked those watching from home.

“If you’re watching this at home, I’m grateful,” he began. “That means, hopefully, you’re social distancing, not spreading the contagious virus, COVID-19, for which there is still no cure. That means you’re being part of the solution, not the problem. So on behalf of the state, I thank you.”

Holcomb said because the infection and death rate continue to rise, Indiana must do more.

“Our neighbors and our economy need to see we are taking steps to help flatten the curve to ensure our healthcare system is able to treat the most vulnerable,” he said.

Holcomb said, as of Tuesday, March 24, the state will be sending home all but the most essential staff — such as police, child welfare workers, state medical workers, prison staff and the already-activated National Guard — at state offices and maximizing remote functions like call centers and state websites to handle state business.

“Whatever non-essential state business that has to be conducted in person, will have to wait,” said Holcomb.

“Citizens shouldn’t worry,” he continued. “This means all types of licenses issued by the state will automatically be extended by 60 days, and law enforcement officials are not going to be issuing citations for, say, expired driver’s licenses or registrations.”

Holcomb said he was proud of the five central Indiana hospitals.

“In order to expand capacity and enhance coordination and save lives, we’re activating a comprehensive healthcare oriented emergency operations center, jointly run by Marion County, our capital city, and the state,” he explained. “This center will centrally inventory and provide support for personnel, supplies like ventilators, masks, goggles, gloves and gowns, and space as we move into the patient surge for COVID-19 … We will not leave any healthcare delivery system alone in their struggle to take care of Hoosiers.”

Holcomb said he was pleased the state’s hospital systems have “stepped up to participate in this innovative initial phase of the process. Eskenazi, Community, Ascension, IU Health and Franciscan — they are all together going to be able to respond to unmet needs and pool precious resources for the state’s wellbeing.”

Holcomb recognized the toll COVID-19 will take on the state’s medical resources. He cited the tide the virus took in New York, which went from one case of COVID-19 on March 1 to more than 15,000 cases on March 23.

“And it’s growing, not slowing,” said Holcomb. “Their hospitals are being overrun. That’s what we’re trying to manage and avoid, which is why we need to slow the spread and we need to do it now.”
Holcomb said he focused on central Indiana first because, as of Monday, it had the highest concentration of cases.

“This hybrid approach will be replicated across the state to make sure we are the best prepared to address the spread in each quadrant of the state,” he said.

He also made a point to thank faith leaders in communities across the state who are doing what they can to minister to their flocks at home.

“In times of trouble, in times of not being able to be in total control, in times of such uncertainty, many of us find comfort, we find strength, in fact, we find guidance in our faith,” he said. “Our statewide faith leaders have come in high demand, whether we realize it or not. I want to thank all of our faith leaders who are livestreaming their services.

“If ever there was an essential service, our houses of worship are on top of that list, right next to our doctors and nurses,” he continued. “Thank you to all of our faith leaders for realizing the church is a body, not a building, especially in the difficult and different days ahead. We’ll get back to the days where we can all join in person and in full force, but until that day, let’s continue to spread the word, not COVID-19.”

Holcomb thanked both medical personnel and businesses for keeping things going in the state.

“To all our healthcare heroes out there pulling double shifts every day, putting their lives on hold so they can tend to others, this is your finest hour,” he said. “Our entire state is depending on you like never before. To all the schools and churches and businesses … that have shut down, to General Motors, who are deploying their Kokomo workforce and converting their production line to make ventilators, to all the breweries that have converted their businesses into hand sanitizer production lines, to all the manufacturers out there who have donated their own protective gear to hospitals and to the state, to all the businesses who have gone to multiple shifts to spread out the work and their workforces, to the union shops who have asked their contractors to drop off the needed items our hospitals are asking for, to all the gritty restaurant owners, who are trying to survive by adapting overnight to a to-go-only business model … to everyone who is playing by the rules, to all those companies who are contributing to our war effort to slow the spread, we say thank you.”

He said the state owes it to its private sector workforce to get through this crisis as quickly as possible by staying home, maintaining social distances and following the guidelines set down by the CDC.

“Our state is a very different place than it was when I gave the State of the State address in January,” said Holcomb. “Because we were one of the most recession-resilient states in America going into this, I know we’ll bounce back better than some others.”

He said the state will continue to work with organizations like FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers, the CDC, the HHS and the Trump administration to get financial help to those in need as soon as possible.

“A year ago last week, we in Indiana had 3,100 Hoosiers file for unemployment benefits,” he said. “Fast forward exactly a year later, last week, we had 54,000 Hoosiers file for help. That’s only in a week, so whether you’re an employee or an employer, whether you’re dealing with mental, physical or financial health issues, whether you’re a small town or big city, the state of Indiana will work with our federal partners as we steer through the rocky, shallow waters ahead.”

Holcomb also thanked the local media for “putting out critical, important information on the effects and impacts of the coronavirus.”

“Make no mistake about it,” he continued, “this disease is killing people and time is of the essence. The best thing we can do for each other … and for our economy is to get a handle on the virus by slowing the spread. That’s what we have power over. That’s the power of one, of you and what you can do. That’s your power, and that’s the power that together, we’ll remain Indiana strong.”


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