Updated May 28, 2020
by Kathie McDonald McClure, Partner, and Joseph Profancik, Summer Associate
On May 1, 2020, Governor Eric Holcomb announced his plan to get Indiana Back on Track. After nearly eight weeks of shutdowns and isolation, Indiana has decided to move forward with a measured and data driven approach to reopen the economy. This approach involves the application of four guiding principles that Governor Holcomb says will assist a safe sector-by-sector reset of the state’s economy.
First, the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients state-wide must decrease for 14 days. Indiana achieved this milestone prior to the Governor’s speech on May 1st. Second, the state must retain its surge capacity for critical care beds and ventilators. Currently, state-wide ICU bed and vent availability has remained above 40% and 70% respectively for the last 2 weeks. Third, the ability to test anyone who is COVID-19 symptomatic. To help in the early detection of new cases, the state partnered with OptumServe to add testing locations in strategically located parts of the state and, as of May 28, 2020, the Indiana COVID-19 website reflects 213 testing locations across the state. Finally, the fourth guiding principle is the ability to contact all individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 and expand contact tracing. In Indiana Contact tracing began on May 11th, and over 500 tracers have been onboarded.
With these guiding principles in mind, Governor Holcomb laid out a 5-stage roadmap for reopening Indiana with the goal of having the state back on track by July 4th – Independence Day. As of May 28th, 2020, per Governor. Holcomb’s Executive Order 20-28, Indiana is in stage three of the roadmap. This Executive Order sets forth the best practices that Hoosier residents, businesses, organizations and others are to follow in stage three in addition to industry specific guidelines. Continuation into the next stage will be determined by whether or not the key principles of health remain positive. The roadmap is subject to change based on CDC guidance and new information.
Stage one (March 24th – May 4th) involved the closure of all non-essential businesses, schools, and retail stores. All Hoosiers were encouraged to stay home, maintain social distancing, and not participate in social gatherings with more than 10 people.
Stage two (May 4th – May 21st) allowed for the reopening of several business sectors, including personal services such as hair salons, barber shops, and spas. Restaurants and bars were also reopening at 50% capacity, along with retail stores and indoor common areas. Religious services were allowed to convene and asked to consider guidance provided by the state to safely worship. Meanwhile, those who worked in office settings were encouraged to continue to work remotely.
Stage three (May 22nd – June 13th) allows for social gatherings of up to 100 people or less to take place so long as they follow social distancing guidelines. Various other businesses may reopen in this stage including:
- Retail stores at 75% capacity
- Community tennis and basketball courts
- Community pools
- Youth summer day camps
- Daycare facilities
- Raceways with no spectators
Stage four (projected to begin June 14th) allows for social gatherings of up to 250 people or less to take place so long as they follow social distancing guidelines. Nursing homes will remain closed to visitors and Hoosiers 65 and older are asked to remain cautious at work and in their communities. Additional businesses may reopen in this stage including:
- State government buildings
- Professional office buildings at full capacity
- Retail stores at full capacity
- Dining room service at 75% capacity
- Bars and nightclubs at 50% capacity
- Cultural, entertainment, and tourism sites may reopen at a capacity to be determined
- Movie theaters and bowling alleys at 50% capacity
- Youth and adult recreation games may resume
- Raceways may open to spectators
- Pari-mutuel horse racing with no spectators
- Charity gaming and casinos (subject to approval by Indiana Gaming Commission)
- Amusement parks and water parks at 50% capacity
Stage five (projected to begin July 4th) allows all businesses to open at full capacity and restrictions to be lifted. Assisted living and nursing homes will continue to be evaluated during this time.
Governor Holcomb has issued specific industry guidelines that should be closely adhered to throughout the Back on Track reopening process. For additional information and updates regarding the Back on Track plan, please visit https://www.backontrack.in.gov/