Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has issued a “stay at home” order calling on Indiana residents to stay in their homes unless absolutely necessary to limit the spread of COVID-19. The order begins Wednesday, Mar. 25 and runs through April 7.

“Hunker down. Stay at home,” Holcomb said in a speech Monday afternoon streamed online. “Unless you’re going out on an essential errand, essential work or essential business.”

The order allows for people to leave their homes for things like grocery shopping, going to the doctor and caring for others. It also allows essential workers, such as healthcare, grocery and maintenance workers to travel to their jobs.

Holcomb announced the order as Indiana’s number of confirmed cases rose sharply to 259 patients. Seven people have died in the state as of Monday afternoon.

“Make no mistake about it, this disease is killing people. Time is of the essence,” he said. Holcomb said the next two weeks will be critical for controlling the spread of COVID-19 and protecting the healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed, as has happened in Italy.

The governors of Illinois, Ohio, California and New York have signed similar measures restricting movement to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has not signed an official “stay at home” order, but he has rolled out restrictions on businesses over the past week that limit opportunities for people to gather in groups.

Holcomb also announced an order closing all state government offices to in-person activity until Apr. 7. He says state-issued licenses will be automatically extended, and that law enforcement have been directed not to issue citations for lapsed licenses. A third order will suspend food and beverage licenses for bars and restaurants not following the governor’s earlier order to stop all service except carryout and delivery.

Finally, Holcomb said he’s opening an emergency operations center in Marion County to help hospital systems in central Indiana coordinate, “as we move into the patient-surge.” He says hospital coordination will eventually be replicated across the state.

Holcomb also said 54,000 people filed for unemployment last week alone, compared to 3,100 in the same week last year.


Jess Clark is WFPL's Education and Learning Reporter.