Gov. Eric Holcomb released new COVID-19 guidelines for Indiana in an executive order signed Wednesday. But these new rules will have little impact on Monroe County.
The new guidelines include more stringent restrictions on counties color-coded as red and orange by the Indiana State Department of Health. The colors indicate how bad the coronavirus is in each county and are determined by a combination of the number of cases per 100,000 residents and the 7-day positivity rate. Red represents the counties with the most cases.
Monroe County is one of five yellow counties in the state, meaning the red and orange guidelines do not apply. For all counties, Holcomb said businesses are required to post signs saying masks are required and all customers in restaurants, bars and nightclubs must observe 6 feet of social distancing.
Though the new executive order will not increase COVID-19 restrictions in Monroe County, more stringent local regulations still stand. The Aug. 21 Bloomington order that limited gatherings to 15 people is still in effect. IU is also suspending students who violate COVID-19 precautions, including some who celebrated last weekend’s IU football victory.
If the COVID-19 situation worsens and Monroe County changes to orange status, the executive order states common areas and break rooms should reduce capacity, but it does not specify how much. Also, only participants, personnel and parents or guardians would be allowed to attend recreational sports activities. K-12 extracurricular and cocurricular activities would be limited to 25% capacity.
If Monroe County transitions to red status, bars, restaurants and nightclubs may consider limiting hours of operation, Holcomb said. Common areas and break rooms would have to close, nursing homes and hospitals would cancel activities and consider limiting visitors and K-12 activities would be limited to participants, personnel and parents or guardians.
Even if Monroe County enters orange or red status, the executive order would not have a big effect. Most of the new rules are suggestions that would not be legally enforced.