Holcomb says state to adopt new COVID-19 restrictions this weekend

Gov. Eric Holcom. (IBJ photo/Eric Learned)

Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Wednesday that he would sign an executive order establishing a month of new pandemic restrictions for most of Indiana after residents “let their guards down” and cases surged.

The restrictions will begin Nov. 15 and last for one month, meaning they would be in effect for Thanksgiving and other holiday festivities. They include limiting social gatherings to 25 people in counties with the highest rates of infection, aka “red” counties, and 50 people in “orange” counties, or those with the next-highest rates.

As of Wednesday afternoon, nine of Indiana’s 92 counties were “red,” and the vast majority of the rest of the state, including all of metropolitan Indianapolis, was “orange.” The state’s color-coded map can be found here.

Holcomb also indicated that the five-stage system charting the state’s recovery would be retired. The state has been in the final stage—Stage 5—since September, which marked the beginning of a second wave of infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Indiana State Department of Health reported 5,156 new COVID-19 cases, the highest number of cases ever reported in the department’s daily pandemic update. The state also reported 31 more deaths due to COVID-19, bringing the total this year to 4,512.

Newly reported deaths have reached or topped 25 for 16 straight days and have been in double digits 34 times over the past 36 days.

Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in Indiana continued to escalate, rising from 2,174 on Sunday to 2,336 on Monday to an all-time high of 2,544 on Tuesday. COVID-19 patients occupy 30% of the state’s intensive care beds.

Holcomb noted Wednesday that when the state went to Stage 5, the infection rate in the state was under 5%. “Unfortunately, too many of us have let our guards down,” he said.

“Stage 5 has been viewed by some as a reason to return to the days when we had never heard of the pandemic, rather than doing the things that had allowed us to reopen,” Holcomb said.

The 7-day running infection rate for all COVID-19 tests in the state was 10.3% on Wednesday.

Under the restrictions announced Wednesday, businesses in “red” and “orange” counties will be required to notify patrons that face coverings are required, and customers in restaurants, bars and nightclubs must be spaced 6 feet apart.

In addition, in “orange” counties:

–Attendance at indoor K-12 extracurricular and co-curricular events, including IHSAA sports, will be limited to 25% capacity. Non-participants will be required to wear face coverings at all times.

–Community recreation sports leagues and tournaments may continue, with attendance limited to participants, required personnel and parents and guardians.

In “red” counties:

–Attendance at indoor K-12 extracurricular and co-curricular events, including IHSAA sports, will be limited to participants, required personnel and parents and guardians. Non-participants will be required to wear face coverings at all times.

–Local officials may consider limiting hours for the operation of bars, nightclubs and restaurants.

–Community recreation sports leagues and tournaments may continue, with attendance limited to participants, required personnel and parents and guardians.

–Senior center activities will be suspended.

–Hospitals and long-term care facilities may impose limitations on visitation.

–Common areas and break rooms should be closed.

Events that anticipate having more attendees than the number specified by the state’s color coding will be required to submit plans with local health departments and receive approval.

Churches and other houses of worship are exempt from the restrictions.

Holcomb also announced the state would make $20 million available to cities, towns and counties to cover costs associated with reviewing local event plans, public awareness and education, and enforcing compliance with state requirements.

He did not say where the funding would come from or when it would be available but said more details would be released soon.

This story will be updated.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

62 thoughts on “Holcomb says state to adopt new COVID-19 restrictions this weekend

  1. Really?
    Death by a thousand cuts.
    This will never end until we let Covid run it’s course.
    We shut the country down and we’re still at this point?
    Stay home if you’re scared.

    1. I agree with Bernard. Nobody is making people go out, if you don’t want the possible exposure, stay home.

    2. Bars/restaurants need $$$ help to get through the winter because too many people will choose to stay home… because they are not safe places to be (six feet ain’t enough). We now know this will pass in a few months, so we need to minimize the spread to get through until we have enough vaccine and therapeutics to open back up.

    3. BERNARD: Accept for all of us that have to continue working outside the home to pay the bills.

    4. Well, Nance. If the state is shut down you aren’t working anyway…

      Bernard is right. This is absurd. If you’re scared, stay home. Period. Let the rest of us move on.

    1. If you’re more afraid of the flu than COVID-19, you believe what you want to believe and not the facts.

  2. Run it’s course: US population (328 mil) x mortality rate (3-4%) = approx 9.8 mil dead- just the math and some #’s from the CDC. This does not take into account the impact of medical infrastructure collapse and other variables. Flu has a mortality rate at about .01%. Other democracies are able to get citizenry working together and with policies. Taiwan (24 mil) had 4 new cases yesterday. Our selfish nature, inability to follow directives, and just being brats is the difference between the US still half-heartedly doing quarantine and Australia who’s basically back to normal life.

    1. You also didn’t mention the long-term impact that some percentage of cases will have from being infected (long-haulers).

      It’s funny how lots of folks scream about being pro-life yet their interest in keeping people alive seems to only pertain to unborn babies … but wearing a mask to maybe protect someone else’s life, and getting carry out instead of dining in at a restaurant, is an unreasonable infringement on their liberty. I do wonder how these folks would have handled war rationing in WWII.

    2. Heather H., you are using wacky logic and math. You assume everyone who gets Covid has the same mortality rate which is so wrong. If you are under 60, your mortality rate is less than 0.2%, and if you are healthy, much less. You also assume everyone in the U.S. will get Covid, which is also wrong. Covid has been infecting U.S. citizens for almost a year, yet less than 3% of the population has been infected (10.5 million out of 333 million). If you are in a risky Covid category, then you should be prudent and protect yourself until a vaccine is available or move to Australia.

  3. Friendly reminder, per the CDC as of today, ~250,000 deaths “coded” COVID-related out of 330mm Americans is a mortality rate of 0.000833333333333. This mortality rate is less than pneumonia for the year.

    1. OK — let’s cut a deal. No one will ever again wear a mask if you, and 10 of your closest relatives, were inflected with COVID and then be permitted to die without any hospital treatment. COVID can be fatal. Offer up your family so that we can got to crowded bar and not wear masks. I think I would take that deal with your family.

    2. Patrick – There’s zero logic in anything you just said. No one wants to get sick. But illness happens. The mortality rate is extremely low. I’d be happy to stop wearing masks and get back to real life. So would everyone in my family. There’s no logic to the restrictions. It’s just because people see a ticker counting “deaths”.

    3. The denominator is the number of people have had the disease not the total number of people living in the US.

  4. Heather, thank you. You are spot on. Other democracies ARE able to get citizenry working together and following policies, and because of it, countries like Australia are pretty much back to normal.

    People in the U.S. are horribly selfish, can’t or simply won’t follow directive, and prefer to “cry foul” about their rights being violated, rather than simply doing their part to help their own community in time of a public health crisis.

    Some of the comments on this thread are further proof of why we are in the current situation. We’d rather bitch and complain about how nothing the Governor is doing is working, and what a joke it all is. We are our own worst enemy and sadly, we don’t seem to understand that this is the real problem.

    1. Heather is not even close to spot on. Fatality rate of known cases has been under 3% for months now. The real fatality rate is probably a tiny fraction of that. Thanks for holding up island nations as an example because it fits your agenda. You forgot Iceland. Oh, and since the US is just a bunch of selfish idiots, which of your hero countries is going to develop the treatment and vaccine? Iceland, or Australia?

    2. Well, Nance. If the state is shut down you aren’t working anyway…

      Bernard is right. This is absurd. If you’re scared, stay home. Period. Let the rest of us move on.

    3. Australia’s GDP has tanked. Spending in the service sector is down 18%. Millions are out of work. But thinking about more than one thing at once is hard, I know.

    1. Where’s your empathy when people die of the flu? Should have stayed home you heartless whoreson!

    1. Guess we gotta shut everything down forever then! People die driving to work. They die of the flu. They die of various other disease. All of that PREVENTABLE if we’d just stay home and out people over profits! (Obvious sarcasm…and by the way…you can’t separate people from profits when people need to work. How about we let people make their own choices?)

  5. So just to be clear Holcomb is victim blaming and accusing us of the increased infections? Note we were told in April that the fall infections would be higher naturally than the spring. Additionally we have as a state severely modified our behavior and it still had no impact. As a high risk person who had it already and received no hospital care I am begging you to stop the insanity and lets get back to work. BTW how many of these infected folks were rioters or got it standing in voting lines for hours?

    1. Victim blaming is Holcomb’s way of assuaging the right. He knew he was going to do this weeks ago – he just had to be reassured if re-election first.

  6. I can’t believe Holcomb has the nerve to blame the citizens when he failed, as Governor, to guide the citizens to do what they need to do. His whole personal responsibility reopening plan was a joke from the beginning. If you don’t enact real restrictions, nothing will improve. Even now, it sounds like there will be no punitive restrictions. This is all political garbage. People get tickets for texting and driving, not wearing a seatbelt, public intoxication, etc. Do the same for masks and capacity restrictions. You’ll see results. As of now, he may as well ignore the disease like our soon to be evicted President. His policies are no different.

  7. Some of my observations . The number of cases is increasing in all 50 states, those that have been almost wide open and other states that have had very strict lockdowns. I see the same data in Europe France,Spain and the UK are exploding , but so are Norway and Denmark. Australia, which is currently trending downwards in new cases ,bare in mind , they are in the southern hemisphere . They are currently going from spring to summer, which is when our cases declined.

  8. I am so tired of hearing about percentages, comparing it to the flu or pneumonia. People, who in your life do you want to sacrifice to Covid-19? Which one of your loved ones do you want to never see again? All they are asking is for everyone to wear a mask and social distance. I work in a very large office building downtown and if you want to talk percentages, 50% of the people walk around without a mask on. Everyone thinks they are Superman and they do not think they will catch it. What about the people over 60? Are we willing to sacrifice our elderly? The people that helped build this country? That is what is wrong with this country today! SELFISHNESS! Wear a mask, stop pretending you are a mathematician or a doctor or scientist, because if nothing else that we learned from the election, the numbers you are hearing may not be true! Spend your energy trying to control this virus by wearing a mask and helping out your fellow man!

    1. You’re misunderstanding. No one thinks they at Superman. No one WANTS to get it. It’s just that disease happens.

    2. Virginia S. who in your family do you want to sacrifice to the flu or some other disease? WEAR YOU MASK FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHA.

  9. These aren’t restrictions, these are politics… Shut down the schools, shut down extra curricular activities, mandate masks in all public places (and enforce it), move restaurants to carry out only, shut down churches, temples, etc, shut down bars. Most of you on here commenting are selfish and only thinking of yourself. You want Thanksgiving next year, then stay home this year. How many people do you know that have died from Covid? I know 3. How many people do you know that got sick, while only doing necessary activities (ie grocery store), 14 people.

    NEED to go to the store, wear a mask for you and the people around you. If EVERYTHING gets shut down again, millions will lose their jobs, many would be permanent.

    STOP BEING SELFISH. You are not entitled to to be selfish with other peoples lives and livelihood. Don’t want to wear a mask, stay home. No Shirt, No Shoes, No Mask, No Service. Very simple.

    Want to talk about freedoms? I should be able to walk into a store without the fear of getting ill, but I can’t because of the selfish people in our community, city, state and country. Look at smoking, I had a right to go into a store without being exposed to second hand smoke. Did I have a choice to not patronize those place, yes and I avoided those places. You don’t want to wear a mask, then don’t go in public. Very simple.

    Holcomb, the election is over, stop the politics and shut it down.

    Be safe Hoosiers… Our lives and livelihood depend on it.

    1. Conversely, you could accept that people can make their own decisions and accept the risk that comes with leaving your home for any reason at any point in life on earth.

    2. Sorry DAVID G. but you have bad logic. And you can’t even go into a store, etc. w/o a mask on (mandate) so what are you talking about when you say “you don’t want to wear a mask, then stay home”???

  10. The Governor is doing too little and in many respects too late. This is not a serious plan to mitigate the pandemic which is totally out of control.

    So I will continue to post the following since the underlying issues remain the same:

    I posted this yesterday, and I will keep posting this as long we have an incompetent government which does not want to keep its citizens safe!!!!!
    New record numbers every day!!!! How many citizens are we going let get sick, and how many are we going let die? It really is as simple as that.
    However, let me try to understand the logic of the State response to the surging pandemic: Stage 5 is okay. Our focus, per Dr. Box, is to increase the amount of healthcare staff and healthcare capacity to take care of the increasing number of sick people. Oh by the way, please wear you mask, pretty please!! (I love it when Health Commissioner, who recently got over COVID-19 episode, has only this to offer to curb the raging pandemic in our State.
    As I have said before our State needs outside expertise (e.g. Dr. Anthony Fauci) to tell us citizens the REAL status of our State’s current plan to mitigate the pandemic of our State. The current “experts” from State outside of government (e.g. IU) have done little more than to create a bunch of numbers that are totally not understood by the common lay person.
    There needs to a ground swell of outrage from the medical community (i.e. hospital, physicians, medical organizations, nursing organization, pharmacists, etc.) to force a change in how our State is handling the pandemic.
    The State has the money to finance, through the Care ACT, to fund a more comprehensively plan to provide all the necessary tools (PPE, testing, contact tracing, etc.) to get the situation under control.
    A responsible government would be able to balance the economy AND public health. Indiana appears not to be able to multi-task. A responsible State government would be able to do both. (As a small business owner, I have lost at least 50% of my income for the year. I know the financial consequences of the pandemic. It took months as the beginning to obtain the necessary amount of PPE to keep my employees and customers safe. I have been able to keep the staff intact as well. However, one does not know what the future will bring)
    Hopefully, with the election over for the State, our local leaders will begin to multi-task. Frankly, I do not expect any progress. With the flu season beginning and with more indoor events, we need to expect that things are just going to get worse.
    Everyone for our State should realize that our current situation was avoidable. Letting things get worse by this State’s administration is UNCONSCIONABLE and INDEFENSIBLE.
    Everyone should re-watch the scene from “NETWORK” where Peter Finch gives a speech that still resonates today. Here is the YOUTUBE link:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwMVMbmQBug

  11. This is about more than mortality rates, folks. If you receive IBJ’s Eight@8, this story was just a couple items down today from the Governor’s news: One in 5 COVID patients diagnosed with disorders | “It feels like we’ve been living with COVID-19 for most of the 21st century, but we’re barely seven months into the pandemic and are still in the getting-to-know-you phase. We know very little about the enduring effects of infection, but a new study has found greater instances of psychiatric disorders. An analysis drawing from the electric health records of more than 62,000 people diagnosed with COVID-19 finds that nearly one in five was subsequently diagnosed with a mental health disorder, such as anxiety, depression or insomnia.” 1 in 5 COVID survivors is suffering not only anxiety, depression and insomnia, but memory loss and other neuro disorders. STOP with the selfish “no masks” / “don’t shut it down” crap. You’re like a bunch of toddlers who kick and scream when getting vaccines and make it much worse than it needs to be. If we had collectively cared enough for one another to wear masks and be vigilant weeks, months ago — just for 2-3-4 weeks at most — perhaps the worst of this would’ve been over then.

  12. What ever happened to “Just opening all up including all schools , Protecting those most vulnerable and if one is scared just stay in house or your room….World is not sterile now and never was nor will it be ! Life needs to be lived and a correct real Covid count needs furnished…Dying from is vastly different than dying with Covid….How about a daily flu count ?

  13. M G. ,Bernard, Larry H. You and all, are a disgrace. It is people like you who are the reason we are not able to prevent the spread of this virus.
    Stop telling people to stay home because you don’t care about anyone but yourselves and won’t take the simplest steps toward prevention without griping, complaining, and telling people to stay home. If YOU all stayed home that would HELP STOP THE SPREAD!

  14. Bernard L and Anthony S, your ignorance is showing. You need to stop listening to Trump and the right wing “news” outlets. You should rely on the science and scientists to get accurate information. Your comments show a great lack of understanding of the facts surrounding COVID -19 pandemic and the record-breaking illnesses and deaths this fall mostly due to relaxed restrictions. Thank you, Trump and your minions for disregarding the advice that most other countries have followed. They have much, much less disease and mortality rates per capita!

{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining
{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining Article limit resets in {{ count_down }} days.