INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Meridian Street in downtown Indianapolis lacking bumper to bumper traffic isn’t something you see everyday. There were bare sidewalks and just the sound of construction during the first day of Governor Eric Holcomb’s stay-at-home order in response to COVID-19.
“It is weird because the streets aren’t busy so you can just stand in the middle of the street and take a picture without getting ran over,” said resident Madisen Schmidt. “It’s definitely weird not seeing everyone walking the streets.”
A few people stepped out of the house to walk their dogs at the Depew Memorial Fountain.
“It used to be when I park up at the monument there you can’t even get a spot to park and I’m the only car parked up there,” said RJ Kenney.
Others decided to take a walk for themselves or go for a run because the sun was out.
“We’re just a couple of miles from the circle here so we decided to get out and we are literally the only people on the circle so we’re keeping our distance, but the boys love it down here on the circle and looking at the fountain and everything,” said resident and mom Allison Dant.
Only people who are picking up carry out, getting essential needs or performing mandatory work are supposed to be on the roads since the order took effect.
“We’ve been busy we’re delivering meals to essential workers and essential organizations who are still working and can’t get food carried in or carried out,” said Kyle Kinnett, who is an employee with Bullseye Event Group.
Even Broad Ripple Village is a ghost town. People who live in the area said seeing chairs put away through windows of closed restaurants is the new normal.
“I took a job as a server three weeks ago and my restaurant closed down two weeks ago so I’ve just been on kind of an unsure permanent vacation is what it feels like, but I’m just taking it a day at a time,” said Brayden Zagel.
Some people believe there will be more restrictions in the future, although the stay-at-home order ends at 11:59 pm on Monday, April 6.
“I think it won’t get better until start of summer,” Schmidt added.
“I think businesses are going to be slow for the next quarter and then we’ll go back to normal,” Kinnett mentioned. “I hope by Memorial Day we start to see some normalcy.”
Holcomb said the order could be extended if the COVID-19 outbreak warrants it.
Timeline of coronavirus in Indiana
- March 6: Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) confirms the first case in Indiana. Officials say the Marion County resident had recently traveled to Boston to attend a BioGen conference as a contractor.
- March 8: ISDH confirms a second case. An adult in Hendricks County who had also traveled to the BioGen conference was placed in isolation. Also on March 8, Noblesville Schools announced that a parent and that parent’s children will be self-quarantining after attending an out-of-state event where someone else tested positive.
- March 9: Two more cases are confirmed. Avon Community School Corporation had announced on March 8 that a student tested positive. That case, along with another in Noble County, was confirmed by state health officials at a press conference.
- March 10: Two more cases are confirmed as the state launches an online tracker. New cases are confirmed in Boone and Adams counties. Purdue and Indiana universities suspend classes for two weeks beyond their spring breaks. Ball State University basketball fans learn the Mid-American Conference tourney will have no fans in the stands. Three businesses operating nursing homes in Indiana announce they will no longer allow visitors.
- March 11: ISDH confirms four more cases in Indiana, three adults in Johnson County and an adult in Howard County. The University of Indianapolis announced it will extend its ongoing spring break through March 22. The Indianapolis-based NCAA announces the men’s and women’s Final Four basketball tournaments will be conducted with essential staff and limited family attendance. The Big Ten announced all sports events, including the men’s basketball tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, will have no fans starting March 12. Ball State University announced all classes are suspended for the rest of the spring semester. NBA suspended all games, including the Indiana Pacers, until further notice. Butler University extended its spring break, after which it will go to virtual classes.
- March 12: ISDH reported two more cases of the coronavirus, in Marion and St. Joseph counties, for a total of 12. Taylor University canceled international and domestic spring break trips for students and faculty sponsors. Indianapolis’ annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade was canceled. Indiana Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced new protections that led to extended public school closings and the cancellation of large events across the state. The league including the Indy Fuel hockey team suspended its season. Indy Eleven said it will reschedule four matches, including its home opener set for April 4. The NCAA canceled the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. The Big Ten suspended all sporting events through the winter and spring seasons. Hancock County announced a jail staff member tested positive for COVID-19. Fiat Chrysler’s Kokomo plant said it was remaining open after an employee tested positive for the coronavirus.
- March 13: Gov. Eric Holcomb announces additional actions — they included eliminating Medicaid co-pays for COVID-19 testing and lifting regulations limiting the number of work hours per day for drivers of commercial vehicles — to help stop the coronavirus. Wayzata Home Products, a Connersville cabinet maker, shut down and laid off its entire workforce due to market uncertainty associated with the coronavirus. The Indiana High School Athletic Association postponed the boys basketball tournament. Franklin College said it will have no in-person classes March 16 and 17, start online classes March 18 through at least April 5 and empty residence halls of students by 5 p.m. March 15. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis said it will be closed March 14-28. The Indianapolis Public Library joined other libraries across Indiana and said it will close all facilities until further notice beginning at 5 p.m. March 14.
- March 14: ISDH reported three more cases, in LaPorte, Marion and Wells counties, for a total of 15. A total of 89 people have been tested by ISDH or the CDC, according to the state. The Indiana Gaming Commission said all licensed gaming and racing operations would close on Monday, March 16, for at least 14 days.
- March 15: ISDH says the state’s total is now at 19 while 121 have been tested. Hamilton County health officials confirmed the county’s first positive case of COVID-19. Kroger announces it is shifting its service hours temporarily. St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis announces all elective, non-urgent surgeries are canceled as of Tuesday.
- March 16: Five more cases are confirmed by ISDH, bringing the total to 24. The first Hoosier death is announced by Governor Eric Holcomb. Gov. Holcomb closes bars, restaurants and nightslubs to in-person patrons, while carryout and delivery services will still be allowed.
- March 17: ISDH announces the second Hoosier death. Indiana’s Catholic bishops announce the cancellation of Sunday and weekday public masses. Gov. Eric Holcomb activated the National Guard to assist as needed with the virus response. Purdue, Butler and Indiana State universities canceled May commencement ceremonies.
- March 18: ISDH’s total number of positive cases was raised to 39. Eli Lilly and Co. says it will use its labs to speed up testing in Indiana for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The 500 Festival announced Wednesday it is suspending all planned, in-person events scheduled through May 9. Simon Property Group closed all malls and retail properties until March 29.
- March 19: ISDH reports 17 new cases, raising the total to 56.Gov. Holcomb extended Indiana’s state of emergency into May. Holcomb said all K-12 public schools will be closed until May 1 and nonpublic schools also are to close. Standardized testing was canceled. The state’s income-tax and corporate-tax payment deadline was extended to July 15. Holcomb said the state will waive job search requirements for people applying for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. The IHSAA Boys Basketball State Tournament was canceled. The Greenfield-Central school district said a staff member at Greenfield Intermediate School contracted COVID-19. The Marion County Emergency Operations Center upgraded to Level 1 status.
- March 20: ISDH reports the third Hoosier death, and 23 new cases for a total of 79. Gov. Holcomb moved the state’s primary election to June 2. Indiana University said it is postponing spring commencement ceremonies on all campuses that had been scheduled for May. Indiana University Health said it can do limited virus testing.
- March 21: ISDH reports the fourth Hoosier death, and 47 new cases for a total of 126. A total of 833 people have been tested for the virus. Indiana National Guard released a video on YouTube, detailing how they will be working in Hoosier communities after Gov. Holcomb’s activation of the guardsmen Tuesday. The guard will work with the Department of Transportation on distribution of medical supplies to hospitals throughout the state and meet with leaders in Indiana to access needs.
- March 22: Indiana’s death toll rose to 7. ISDH reports 75 more confirmed cases. Allison Transmission said it has been notified that an employee has a presumed-positive case of COVID-19.
- March 23: ISDH reports 259 cases of COVID-19, up from 201 a day earlier. Gov. Holcomb orders Hoosiers deemed non-essential to “stay at home” from March 24-April 7. Eli Lilly & Co. begins drive-thru testing for the coronavirus for health care workers with a doctor’s order. Ball State University canceled the May commencement.
- March 24: Indiana’s death toll rose to 13. Fred Payne of Indiana Workforce Development said any Hoosiers out of work, including temporary layoffs, are eligible to apply for unemployment benefits. ISDH reclassifies several cases, including removing a reported case in Hancock County, and transferring residence in three other cases.
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