INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Ñ
Any easing of Indiana’s statewide stay-at-home order won’t limit the
authority of city or county officials from imposing tighter restrictions in
their attempts to slow the coronavirus that is blamed in the deaths of more
than 1,100 people across the state, the governor said Thursday.
About 57,000 more
people applied for unemployment benefits in Indiana last week as the state
continues to see record numbers of newly jobless people stemming from the
COVID-19 economic slowdown.
Gov. Eric Holcomb
is poised to announce today modifications to the business and travel
directives that have been in place since March 25 as a growing number of
states are loosening their shutdown orders.
officials, however, extended the city’s stay-at-home order on Thursday by
two weeks through May 15, saying the state’s largest city was still
experiencing too many COVID-19 cases to safely relax restrictions. Some
other cities and counties around the state also have adopted rules
responding to outbreaks in their communities.
Holcomb said he
supported Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett’s decision and that the new state
order wouldn’t strip away local authority.
jurisdictions can always be stricter than what we have said,” Holcomb said.
“This has been the case, not just once, in the state of Indiana. We’ll seek
to 100% of the time work with those local officials.”
Thursday from Kokomo, where he joined Vice President Mike Pence in touring a
General Motors electronics plant that’s been converted to produce critical
care ventilators for hospitals around the country.
Holcomb said his
changes to statewide restrictions will come in stages, but did not provide
“This will not just
be back to normal, or back to business as we used to do it,” Holcomb said.
“This is going be very methodical.”
stay-at-home order will continue until at least May 15, including a ban on
dine-in service at restaurants and the closure of nonessential businesses
such as movie theaters, fitness centers and hair salons.
The city has nearly
one-third of both Indiana’s COVID-19 deaths and confirmed infections and not
enough slowdown in new cases to make resuming normal activity in large
venues and densely populated neighborhoods, Hogsett said.
That step might not
come soon as the mayor said he hoped Indianapolis “can reopen over the next
few months so long as the data dictates that we can.”
The plan by
Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group for reopening its three shopping
malls in the city as soon as Saturday was opposed by city officials.
Dr. Virginia Caine,
director of the Marion County Public Health Department, said she had “huge
concerns” about the malls reopening.
“It would just
increase our numbers dramatically, put other citizens at risk considerably,
and it may undo all the good work we have put in place related to our
shelter-in-place and stay-at-home philosophies,” Caine said.
Simon has also
planned to reopen seven other malls around the state. A company spokeswoman
didn’t answer questions Thursday about the status of its plans.
Holcomb said he
believed Simon would comply with all state and local requirements.
released Thursday show Indiana has had nearly 570,000 people seek jobless
aid over the past six weeks. That growth in the unemployed since March 15 is
more than five times greater than Indiana’s total of about 105,000 people
seeking jobs in February.
More than 30
million people across the country have now filed for unemployment since
coronavirus closures started and economists have forecast that the national
unemployment rate for April could go as high as 20%.