(INDIANAPOLIS) – Indiana is coordinating with six other Midwestern states on how and when to lift
Governor Holcomb says he’s looking at beginning the process of rebooting Indiana’s economy in early
May. He’s announced a coalition with the governors of Indiana’s four neighboring states, plus Wisconsin and Minnesota, to share information on their plans for lifting statewide stay-home orders and other restrictions.
The governors say each state will still make its own decisions on when it’s safe to reopen, and may not take the same steps at the same time. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine says his goal is to start reopening his state’s economy May 1. Holcomb says he won’t commit to a specific date. He’s reiterating that when the state does start loosening restrictions, it’ll be gradual.
All seven states say they’ll base their decisions on numbers showing how quickly the virus is spreading and how prepared their hospitals are for an influx of patients. They say their decisions will also take into account their ability to expand testing of residents to see who’s already been exposed to the virus, and on establishing workplace protocols to give employees confidence they’ll be safe when they do come back. Holcomb says he’s asked different industry groups, including retailers, manufacturers, and Indiana’s sports franchises, to deliver suggestions by Wednesday for changes they might make to enforce social distancing.
The coalition follows similar regional alliances in the Northeast and the Pacific Northwest. The Great Lakes alliance brings the number of states coordinating efforts to 17.
Indiana’s month-old stay-at-home order expires Monday but is likely to be extended for a second time. Holcomb says he’ll announce tweaks to the order on Friday.
Nearly 500 Hoosiers have died of the virus so far.