Today’s daily update from Governor Holcomb had nearly 5000 viewers on the State’s broadcast plus thousands more watching through local media options. Besides regular updates, leaders all clearly encourage Hoosiers to continue to take this seriously. Dr. Box, the head of the IN Department of Health, emphasized multiple times that Hoosiers should “have a plan and deploy it; pool resources and work with others, but from a distance.” Finally, Governor Holcomb expressed hope that we don’t become numb to the updated numbers, but that they serve as more of a reminder that this “isn’t a marathon. It’s a triathlon. We must do more, not less.”
Update with the Governor’s newest Executive Order. It:
- Suspends the one week waiting period for Unemployment Insurance retroactive to March 8, 2020
- Waives IN code restricting release of information to the Indiana State Department of Health
- Waives several rules regarding child care, long-term care facilities, preferred drug lists and waiting times
- Allows temporary changes under the Professional Licensing Agency for pharmacists and longer day supplies for some maintenance medications
- And makes some provisions regarding local government finance regulations
Anyone interested in watching live at 2:30 p.m. Eastern should check the social media account for the Governor or your favorite media outlets to find options for watching. The updates include various state department leaders and allow for Q&A from media in attendance at the end.
- Governor has waived the 1-week waiting period for Unemployment Insurance (UI).
- Those with questions or needing to apply go to: www.unemployment.in.gov. There is a tremendous amount of info there, including a regularly updated FAQ. If you still have questions, call, but expect delays due to high call volume. The normal processing time for a claim is 21 days, so once a person submits a claim, the first payment will arrive about 21 days later.
- There are webinars (details on the website) planned for this week and next for businesses and individuals to help educate Hoosiers. Register here.
- Some have complained about the number of businesses exempted and whether the stay-at-home order is effective. Governor emphasized that even if a business is considered essential they are still required to abide by social distancing rules.
- If an employer has a question about whether they are essential, they can call the hotline at 877-820-0890 between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Eastern time each day. Good answers also available at: www.in.gov/criticalindustries
- Law enforcement should not be pulling people over for random checks, but if a person is pulled over for a moving violation or other infraction, they may check the driver’s reason for being out.
- IN January, Indiana had more people employed than ever in our state’s history and only 23,000 new unemployment claims for the entire month. For the week ending, March 21, there were 62,777 claims filed
- Many updates coming to the UI programs including additional weeks and additional benefits. Department of Workforce Development is working through the legislation and updating IT and other systems to manage the new processes and options
- Indiana ended last fiscal year (on June 30) with $2 Billion in reserves and through February, Indiana’s revenues had exceeded an upwardly revised forecast by $100M. Those reserves will play an important part in Indiana’s recovery, including being used to meet the state obligations of the Federal legislation just passed.
- March Revenues will be reported in the next 10 days – they mostly reflect February activity, so we will not see much of an impact to the State finances
- Impact will begin to show in April and through the last quarter of the fiscal year when IN would normally receive most of the individual and corporate income taxes.
- There are questions about businesses and their insurance coverage for business interruption. The federal assistance bills are clarifying some of these rules, but those who are having an issue with their insurance coverage, should reach out to the Indiana Department of Insurance at www.in.gov/idoi/
- Hoosiers are encouraged to virtually enjoy state assets such as museums, state parks, etc. Virtual tours are available at www.VisitIndiana.com
General Covid-19 Response Update
- 170 new confirmed cases (645 total); 3 more deaths (17 total)
- Dr. Box emphasized that the best way to help out is to practice social distancing – feel free to get outside, but stay apart. No big group runs, hikes, etc. “Social distancing applies to everyone, whether you feel ill or not.”
- One focus is working with the long-term care facilities to ensure they have plans and instructions for when they have confirmed patients.
- Governor and Administration daily review data and evaluate easing or tightening restrictions and consider things like the current plan to reopen schools on May 1. There is no deadline to make that decision, but it is on their radar daily.