UPDATE: Marion County’s extended stay-at-home order could stop Simon’s plans to reopen Indy malls

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Marion County’s plan to extend the city’s stay-at-home order through May 15 could derail Simon Property Group’s plans to reopen its Indianapolis malls this weekend.

The announcement—from Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and Marion County Public Health Department Director Dr. Virginia Caine—comes one day after news reports said that Indianapolis-based Simon planned to reopen its malls, including 10 properties in Indiana, on Saturday.

Hogsett’s chief of staff, Thomas Cook, told reporters Thursday morning that the administration plans to discuss reopening Marion County malls with Simon leadership on Thursday afternoon.

But he said Castleton Square Mall, Circle Centre and the Fashion Mall at Keystone won’t likely be allowed to reopen Saturday under Marion County orders.

Simon officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment and did not return a message seeking comments on Wednesday about plans to reopen.

Dr. Caine told reporters Thursday that she is “very concerned” about letting large retailers reopen when cases continue to increase.

Marion County has seen the state’s highest number of cases of COVID-19 in Indiana, with 5,295 cases and 300 deaths through Tuesday.

“When we already have over 100 cases a day, opening a large retail establishment would just increase our numbers dramatically, put other citizens at risk considerably and it may undo all the good work we’ve put in place related to our shelter in place and staying at home philosophy,” Caine said.

The city and state stay-at-home orders currently require malls to be shut to in-person shopping. Stores can offer pick-up service, however.

The state’s stay-at-home order expires at midnight Friday, and Gov. Eric Holcomb has indicated he intends to start reopening the economy in some rolling fashion. When asked earlier this week about Simon’s plans, Holcomb said he had talked with Simon officials but did not tell the company what would be included in his new order, which he will announce Friday.

City officials say the local order may have to be be adjusted to comply with the new state requirements that Holcomb will announce on Friday. The state has the authority to preempt local governments but it can also allow local governments to set more stringent rules.

But local officials said the goal is to issue an order “subsequent to the new statewide order that to the greatest extent allowable will continue current restrictions” on all non-essential business through May 15.

According to the city, restaurants may continue serving takeout and delivery, and grocery stores, pharmacies and other essential businesses will remain open.

Golf courses and farmers markets will be allowed to open May 2, provided that they put in place proper social-distancing protocols and strict sanitation practices are implemented.

The city has also asked county residents to wear a face mask or covering while out in public.

“It’s clear from talking with state leaders and community stakeholders that the challenges we face here in Indianapolis are unique—a city filled with large venues, densely populated neighborhoods and active business centers,” Hogsett said in written comments. “To ensure that we see continued progress in our fight against this virus, we must recommit to our social distancing efforts even as we plan for the future.”

Hogsett told reporters he doesn’t expect to be at odds with the governor about the state’s reopening plan. The city will work collaboratively and cooperatively with the governor and his staff to implement the state’s orders.

So far, Holcomb has not restricted counties from implementing restrictions that are stricter than the state’s, except for prohibiting any county from issuing a travel warning that’s higher than the states. Cass County, for example, this week further clamped down on who is allowed inside retail establishments after seeing a spike in cases.

“We are simply suggesting that Indianapolis has a fundamentally different perspective … that may very well be substantially different than other areas of the state,” Hogsett said. “The governor … has to keep into consideration the needs, desires, the pressure and the vulnerability of all 92 counties. Dr. Caine and I have the unique responsibility of charting a course for the city of Indianapolis and the Marion County residents.”

“If the state tomorrow articulates fundamentally different directives or lessens restrictions, we certainly will work with them in trying to implementing hose as consistently as the message we’re offering today,” he added.

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32 thoughts on “UPDATE: Marion County’s extended stay-at-home order could stop Simon’s plans to reopen Indy malls

  1. That’s it. Remember Indianapolis Marion County isn’t the rest of the state and Commandant Holcomb needs to treat it that way! Other counties should be free May 1st no excuses regardless if Holcomb’s Democrat handlers have him pissing down his RINO leg!

    1. Darrell, that’s ridiculous. So nice of you to make a pandemic into a political insult. Bet you would react differently if you or your immediately family had COVID.

      BTW, as a lifelong Republican, I’ve come to the conclusion that “RINO” is a term used only by far-right authoritarians who only want things their way, who forget that with freedom comes the responsibility to share this land with people who are different than you. That’s real liberty.

  2. I thought we were coordinating our “re-open” with a group of 6 other states? Seems they are not moving forward on re-opening, yet we are. Plus, since Easter/Passover, our numbers quit slowing and accelerated again…not really substantiating an environment to re-open much of anything

  3. We cant let fear continue to drive us. Governor Holcomb, i plead with you to all life to be lived. Because if we are trying to be safe, until there is a real vaccine or some other solution, the virus will be with us, and we will be at risk, and every two to four weeks, announcing we are extending further with “some adjustments” isnt good for anyone phychic,

    And for the potential of modified school in the Fall, i will only share children are not truly learning right now, especially high school that have more ways than anyone can fathom to connect with friends to check the box. They will need to be well educated with the amount of issues and debt we will be leaving them.

    Please be strong and allow life to be lived.

    1. Unfortunately fear is driving this pandemic. And thats what some politicians are counting on …….. They want you to vote by mail, no ID’s and steal the election. It’s all about politics coming all the way down from DC and the do nothing Dems!

  4. Cinci, Columbus, Louisville, Nashville, Pittsburgh and St Louis also have large venues and densely populated neighborhoods but nowhere near the number of cases -we have 3 to 4 times more than some of these peers cities/counties. So what happened? Maybe it’s because these local leaders have sit back and let the Governor make all the decisions until now. The Mayor has been largely quiet And public ally inactive through all of this. Marion County has more cases than do 24 entire states but our leaders act like we’re just any other Midwestern zip code waiting for the crisis to settle.

    1. Center township doesn’t pay attention to any order, thats why the count is higher.

    2. Doug T, there are nine townships in Indianapolis-Marion County. Do you have data showing that all the cases are in Center?

  5. I thought we were doing this not to overwhelm Hospitals? Hospitals seem to be fine. Why are we willing to trade our freedoms for” safety”. No government can guarantee your “safety”. Armed with Facts, I can make the best decision for my Family

    1. So you’re immortal? The hospitals are full, but far too many are DYING THERE!! We’re not trading freedoms for safety. We’re saving lives by not permitting the silently infected to kill others. It’s not about you, it’s about your community. Freedom isn’t murder.

    2. Tom H – take a breath and chill out. The stats don’t support the continued lockdown.

    3. If hospitals are fine, why is Marion County having to handle overflow from other counties, why are some hospitals having to divert within Marion County because they don’t have room for more COVID cases, and why did hospitals have to shut down all kinds of other cases to handle nothing but COVID cases?

      And oh yeah, why are hundreds of medical professionals coming down with COVID-19?

    4. Joe P – get the facts – per another article in the IBJ today:

      As for surrounding counties, Hamilton had 755 positive cases; Johnson 579; Hendricks 667; Boone 190; Hancock 218; Madison 420; Morgan 152; and Shelby 201.

      Every Indiana county has at least one case.

      The department said 42.5% of the state’s intensive care unit beds were still available. About 17.6% are being used by COVID-19 patients.

      The department also said 80.6% of the state’s ventilators were available. About 9% were being used for COVID-19 patients.

    5. That stat is meaningless unless you know the capacity of all those ICU’s before COVID.

      Let’s say a hospital had 100 ICU beds. That hospital did what a lot of hospitals did – converted other parts of the hospital into ICU beds and stopped doing other procedures so they could add 50 beds. So, voila, they have 150 ICU beds now to handle the surge.

      Let’s use your numbers – those 150 beds are 58% full (with 87 people) and of those 87 people, only 18% (14) have COVID. What happens when they close those beds? If that one hospital closes those 50 beds, they’re now at 87% capacity.

      So, the percentage of ICU beds filled is meaningless.

      Just a reminder, the COVID and ICU numbers are what they are DESPITE a lockdown order and closing businesses and schools – it’s “only 18%” and no one is going anywhere or doing anything. You have a number for what they’ll be when businesses re-open? No one does.

      Trust the professionals. If you’re in the comment section of the IBJ, you likely aren’t one.

  6. Actions speak louder than words…. Basketball games being played on a court…and why do many people just consider this “the flu”?
    At least wear a mask and space yourself whenever possible!

  7. Darrell, that’s ridiculous. So nice of you to make a pandemic into a political insult. Bet you would react differently if you or your immediately family had COVID.

    BTW, as a lifelong Republican, I’ve come to the conclusion that “RINO” is a term used only by far-right authoritarians who only want things their way, who forget that with freedom comes the responsibility to share this land with people who are different than you. That’s real liberty.

  8. this has become ridiculous. Years from now, everyone will look back and realize this should have been done differently. So let me get this straight: Indiana has close to 7 million population. According to the IBJ report, 964 people have died from Covid in Indiana. Of those that have died, 91% was over the age of 60 years old. 72% was over the age of 70! So, we have closed the entire state down for months because 96 people have died out of 7 million below the age of 60! Think about that for a minute. Let that sink in. More people have died from many, many other issues then that from it being shut down. I am certain more suicide, even car accidents. Why are we not telling people age 60 and over to stay low, many at that age or 70 are retired and not even working! We are destroying the economy.

    1. Craig EXACTLY! They are isolating the wrong people. This virus is already far more widespread than they acknowledge, meaning the actual rate of mortality is FAR FAR less then they are saying. Your numbers speak truth to the lie.

    2. The economy was going to be trashed anyway. Companies were going to shut down and send workers home. No one was going to shop or go on vacation or go out to eat. All that was saved were lives, both of the people who got sick and medical workers, who oh yeah were asked to deal with this crisis with all kinds of compromises in regards to PPE. It’s one thing to sign an oath to help people like doctors and nurses do, another to risk your own life because you can’t be protected. There’s a reason they don’t tell us how many medical professionals got COVID…

      The actual numbers of COVID cases and deaths are understated because we’ve chosen not to test enough people. Look at the amount of deaths above the historical averages and you’ll see the true impact of COVID-19.

      The job of the federal government was simple – testing to keep the economy open, contact tracing so we only keep home the people who have to be quarantined, and procuring enough PPE for hospitals and essential workers. They failed as badly as they could have and left states no option but to shut down.

      If we had more tests (and masks), not only could we have maybe kept the economy open, we could have reopened faster. And we will struggle to reopen the economy because we still don’t have enough tests and contact tracing isn’t ready yet to scale up.

    3. Joe,
      Indianapolis is not NYC. Something very different happened in NYC that has not been duplicated in any other cities in the US. Why were they hit harder? We don’t know yet until post-virus studies are completed. But don’t panic because of what you are hearing about NYC, and don’t apply those stats to Indianapolis.

    4. It’s simple – NYC waited too long to shut down (after Indiana), by which time the virus was going to peak in an exponential number from the number of known cases at that time. On the other hand, there’s Ohio which shut down “too early” and didn’t have nearly as many issues.

      Perhaps the biggest mistake in Indiana was allowing the IHSAA sectionals to be played.

      Yes, this should have been done differently – we should have had tests everywhere and masks everywhere and we should have spent February producing both of them. People should have been wearing them in late February. Life should be going on with people masked right now.

      Instead, we have a federal government that bungled the tests, told us it would all go away, then told us to not wear masks to cover up the issue of there not being enough PPE for medical workers.

      Don’t be mad at your local governor. Eric Holcomb did pretty well given the hand dealt him. (The mind shudders at how Governor Mike Pence would handled this.) Be mad at the federal government, which wants you to ignore their failings but give them all the credit. That’s why we’ve been stuck in our houses the last few weeks.

  9. Craig B…You are so right….The counties including Marion and the Federal/ State don,t even furnish correct causes of death or the correct number of virus hospitalizations etc etc…If its not a direct cause then why are these numbers skewed to indicate a higher number of Covid 19 deaths.. Does anyone not understand that Nursing homes in any state are not for people who are not affected by some eventual fatal illness..Quality of life issues are always at the forefront of any Nursing Home discussion.. .Sanitary conditions and medial staffing at these locations have always been suspect and owner/ lobbyist seem to always win out regarding any change or mandates for improvements … The stay at home lock down original order was to prevent the suggested overwhelming of our medical facilities…Hospitals were not overwhelmed and many have laid off staff as a result of a lack of activity..Those who wish to stay home …PLEASE DON’T LEAVE AS YOU MOST LIKELY WILL BE UNHAPPY WITH YOUR FREEDOM…For the rest of us AMERICANS open up the state completely…This exercise has turned out to be an OVERKILL and now the Narcissist and want a be Elitist are taking over all our lives and seem very happy and comfortable taking away our long established freedoms seeming to care less about all the small businesses and others who are dying on the vine as we say ! !

  10. Marion County has had 328 covid-19 deaths out of a population of 965,000, equivalent to .0004, or 4/100th of one percent, or 0.04% – does that number sound familiar? It should – its the same % likelihood of death from Coronovirus in the state of California reported by the 2 doctors who were censored and ridiculed last weekend.

    1. Economic Suicide. We all get it and know how to exercise precautions to co-exist with the virus. I’m older without any conditions. If I die, I die. I don’t want the world to stop to save a life lived.

  11. Typical Democrat exercising his power. Thank God he’s not our governor or we would never get out. Wear a mask and call it a day. Why stay in for two more weeks. If the State doesn’t do this then I will do business outside of Marion County. Are you trying to kill businesses Joe. Is that your goal?

    1. Some of us are pro-life and mean it – meaning, I don’t just stop caring about the sanctity of life after a child is born. If we can do something to save lives, we should do it.

      Also, if you read this analysis, we saved money by shutting down.


      We are choosing to let businesses fail. They aren’t throwing all these people out of work in other countries. Why not?