Breaking: Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on Wednesday said he would issue an executive order to keep the state in Stage 4.5 of its pandemic recovery plan through Aug. 27. In addition, Holcomb said he was extending the state’s landlord moratorium on evictions though Aug. 14. The moratorium, which prohibits landlords from initiating court proceedings to kick out their tenants, has been in effect since mid-March.
Holcomb first announced Stage 4.5 of the Back on Track plan on July 4. It was initially supposed to cover the period from July 4-17, but the governor extended the stage for at least another two weeks. Stage 4.5 was not part of the original Back on Track plan but was implemented when officials became wary of moving from Stage 4 to Stage 5, representing full recovery with no restrictions on business and social behavior. Holcomb said the additional extension of Stage 4.5 to Aug. 27 was needed because Indiana’s COVID-19 testing positivity rate continues to rise. Local governments are allowed to issue more stringent plans.
Here is the plan, according to the state:
Stage 4.5 (through at least Aug. 27)
– Social gatherings following the CDC’s social distancing guidelines will be limited to up to 250 people. This limit applies to wedding receptions, parties, and other events where people are in close physical contact for extended periods of time, particularly indoors.
– Dining room food service may continue operations at up to 75 percent capacity as long as social distancing is observed. Bar seating in restaurants may continue operations at 50 percent capacity. Bars and nightclubs may operate at 50 percent capacity as long as they adhere to social distancing guidelines.
– Cultural, entertainment and tourism sites may operate at 50 percent capacity.
– Movie theaters, bowling alleys and similar facilities may operate at 50 percent capacity.
– Amusement parks, water parks and similar facilities may operate at 50 percent capacity. Reservations are encouraged to limit the number of customers at any one time.
– Raceways may operate at 50 percent grandstand capacity.
– Fairs, festivals and other similar outdoor events may open. Pari-mutuel horse racing and county and state fair racing may begin with 50 percent spectator capacity. Youth overnight camps may open. (Indianapolis Business Journal)
In addition, Gov. Holcomb says he’s willing to add more funding to the state’s $25 million rental assistance program if needed.
The state’s program, which launched July 13, has already received more than 20,000 applications, but the funds are expected to be enough to cover only about 12,000 households.
The program will provide households assistance of $500 per month for up to four months.
To be eligible for assistance, an individual must be able to show a loss of income from an involuntary job layoff, reduced work hours or reduced pay due to the pandemic. Applicants’ current household income, including unemployment benefits, must be less than their household income was on March 6.
A household also is ineligible for the program if it has already received emergency rental assistance during the COVID-19 crisis. Individuals won’t qualify if they are already receiving rental assistance through Section 8 vouchers or U.S. Department of Agriculture assistance.
A renter’s landlord must also agree to participate in the program. Payments will be made directly to the landlord, who must agree not to evict the tenant until he or she is at least 45 days delinquent.
The state is still processing the applications, but on Wednesday, Holcomb said his administration “will find the resources necessary to meet that need.”