For Immediate Release:
Thursday, March 19, 2020
Gov. Holcomb Takes More Actions to Protect Hoosiers During Public Emergency
Schools, Economy, Unemployment Insurance Changes Announced
INDIANAPOLIS — Governor Eric J. Holcomb took additional unprecedented
actions today to protect and support Hoosiers during the COVID-19 outbreak
by signing executive orders that extend the closure of schools, provide
economic relief and protections for individuals and businesses, and expand
unemployment insurance benefits for those impacted by job loss.
“Every day we learn more about how to tackle this monster. We are
being thoughtful about how to approach every action we are taking in this
national public health emergency and putting Hoosiers’ health and
safety first,” said Gov. Holcomb.
Daily COVID-19 testing capacity in Indiana has expanded with the addition
of a new partnership between the Indiana State Department of Health and
Eli Lilly and Company, and at least one other entity has initiated testing
this week. In the past 24 hours, about 200 tests have been completed.
“As we increase the number of tests analyzed each day, no one should
be caught off guard that the number of positive cases will increase,”
said Dr. Kris Box, state health commissioner. “This will help us
know where community spread is occurring in Indiana and help us mobilize
resources in affected areas.”
Here is a summary of covered actions. The Executive Orders, which contain
additional actions, will be found at this link:
State of Emergency Extension
- The Governor will extend the current state of emergency an additional 30
days when it expires on April 5.
- All K-12 public schools will remain closed until May 1. Non-public schools
are also ordered closed. This date may be revised to extend through the
end of the 2019-2020 school year if circumstances warrant.
- All-state mandated assessments will be canceled for the current academic
year. The governor has contacted U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos
to share the state’s plan and also has asked the Superintendent
of Public Instruction Dr. Jennifer McCormick to pursue any federal waivers
needed to cancel the requirements for accountability, chronic absenteeism
and state-mandated assessments.
- The state of Indiana will align with the federal government to delay state
income tax payments from April 15 to July 15. The U.S. Treasury extended
the deadline to pay federal income tax by 90 days.
- Penalties will be waived for 60 days for property tax paid after May 11.
The state will work with counties that may experience cash flow stress
because of the delay.
- The state will not immediately move forward with using $300 million in
reserves to pay for several capital projects approved in the just-concluded
legislative session and instead maintain flexibility to utilize the funds
as needed for relief efforts and to maintain current services. The state
will consider using bonding authority to move forward with the just-approved
- Providers of essential utility services such as gas and electric, broadband,
telecom, water and wastewater services are prohibited from discontinuing
service to any customer during the public health emergency.
The state’s application to the U.S. Small Business Administration
(SBA) was approved on Wednesday. This program provides targeted, low-interest
loans of up to $2 million to help small businesses and nonprofits overcome
the temporary loss of revenue as a result of coronavirus. See more at
Unemployment Insurance Benefits
- The state will interpret Indiana’s unemployment laws to the broadest
extent possible to cover Hoosiers who are out of work because of COVID-19.
- Benefits will be paid to individuals who file their initial unemployment
- The Department of Workforce Development will allow individuals to continue
to accrue unemployment eligibility if they take work leave because of COVID-19.
- DWD will seek federal authorization to provide unemployment benefits for
those who are not otherwise eligible for unemployment, such individuals
who have recently started a job.
- For employers, DWD will not assess certain experience rate penalties because
of employees who receive unemployment benefits because of COVID-19.
- No residential eviction proceedings or foreclosure actions may be initiated
during the public health emergency. This does not relieve the individual
of obligations to pay rent or mortgage payments.
- All public housing authorities are requested to extend deadlines for housing
assistance recipients and required documentation to show eligibility for
- The Indiana Department of Financial Institutions and Indiana Community
Housing Development Authority are required to work with financial institutions
to identify tools to help promote housing stability.
- Participants in the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) and the Children’s
Health Insurance Program are not required to make premium payments.
- Job search requirements are waived for those applying for Temporary Assistance
to Needy Families (TANF) benefits.
- The Family and Social Services Administration will seek a federal waiver
to extend renewals for existing Medicaid and HIP recipients.
- Telehealth services for mental health, substance use disorder and prescribing
for Medicaid covered services will be expanded.
- The commissioner of the state Department of Insurance will request that
insurers institute a 60-day moratorium on policy cancellations for non-payment
of premiums. This does not suspend a policyholder’s obligation to
- The commissioner will ask health insurers to cover COVID-19 testing without
requiring prior authorization.
- The commissioner will request that health insurers not increase prices
or coverage costs that involve medical care for COVID-19.
Bureau of Motor Vehicles
- To limit the number of in-branch transactions, late fees will be waived
for several driver’s licenses and identification card renewals,
vehicle registrations, titles, and certain other transactions.
- Other operational changes in branches are being instituted to provide for
the safety of employees and customers in branches, such as spacing between
terminals and limiting the number of customers in the lobby.
- Requirements have been relaxed for veterans to qualify for awards from
the Military Family Relief Fund.
- Awards in excess of $2,500 may be approved by the IDVA director during
the public health emergency.
Health and Professional Licensing
- Mental health professionals are permitted to practice via telemedicine.
- Advance Practice Registered Nurses are allowed to provide services in multiple
- The state health commissioner may waive requirements of the nursing home
certificate of need statute to respond to COVID-19 issues for long-term
More information may be found at the ISDH website at
in.gov/coronavirus/ and the CDC website at