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Can I Go For A Walk? Here's What A 'Stay-At-Home' Order Really Does

Gov. Eric Holcomb announced a statewide “Stay-At-Home” order for Indiana Monday. While there are new restrictions across the state, there are a number of things you can do and businesses that can stay open. 

Why are we under a Stay-At-Home order?

Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio are among states that have already issued stay-at-home orders, or similar shelter-in-place orders. It’s designed to help stop the spread of COVID-19. 

We won’t know how effective it is for one to three weeks, because of the cycle of the novel coronavirus. So, the confirmed cases and deaths will continue to climb in that time period.

But what does the Stay-At-Home order mean?

It means that the governor has mandated you stay indoors unless it’s essential that you leave – with a number of exemptions. And non-essential government and business operations will shut down.

What are those exemptions?

Things that are essential to the health and safety of you or members of your family or household. 

  • Getting medical supplies or medication
  • Visiting a health care professional 
  • Going to the grocery store
  • Delivering food, groceries or cleaning products to members of your family
  • Caring for a family member or pet in another household.

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For businesses that are still open:

  • Obtaining supplies to work from home
  • Working at essential businesses, government facilities and nonprofit organizations

Outdoor exercise:

  • Outdoor exercise such as running or taking a walk is acceptable. While exercising outside, you still should practice social distancing by running or walking at least 6 feet away from other people.
  • Dog-walking is also totally fine.
  • However, gyms, fitness centers and associated facilities will be closed to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. 

Additional exemptions are outlined in the governor's executive order.

What businesses are staying open?

Essential businesses and services include but are not limited to grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, police stations, fire stations, hospitals, doctor’s offices, health care facilities, garbage pickup, public transit, and public service hotlines such as SNAP and HIP 2.0.

Laundromats, dry cleaners and laundry service providers are considered essential businesses. Construction, hardware stories, auto repair, and hotels also fall under this category. A full list is in the governor’s executive order.

What businesses are shutting down?

Hair salon, spa, nail salon, tattoo parlor and barber shops are all ordered to close. The Indiana State Department of Health and the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission will enforce the restaurant and bars that have not shifted to take-out or delivery service.

When does the order go into effect?

The Stay-At-Home order takes effect Tuesday, March 24 at 11:59 p.m. ET. The order ends on Monday, April 6, at 11:59 p.m. ET, but could be extended if the outbreak warrants it.

Are roads and public transportation getting closed?

No. The roads will remain open – though you should only travel if it is for your health or essential work. 

Public transportation, ride-sharing and taxis should only be used for essential travel.

How is this being enforced? Is the Indiana National Guard getting deployed?

Staying home is critical to reducing the spread of COVID-19 in your community. Adhering to the order will save lives, and it is the responsibility of every Hoosier to do their part. The governor said, if the order is not followed, the Indiana State Police will work with local law enforcement to enforce this order.

However, the Indiana National Guard is not part of enforcing this order. The Guard is aiding in planning, preparation and logistics with other state agencies. For example, the Indiana National Guard assists in distributing hospital supplies the state receives.

How can I receive medical care?

The governor’s office recommends, if you develop symptoms such as fever, cough and/or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19, stay home and call your health care provider.

Call in advance so your provider can take proper precautions to limit further transmission. Older patients and individuals who have severe underlying medical conditions or are immunocompromised should contact their health care provider early, even if their illness is mild.

If you have severe symptoms, such as persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or extreme fatigue, or bluish lips or face, contact your healthcare provider or emergency room and seek care immediately, but call in advance if possible. 

Your doctor will determine if you have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and whether you should be tested.

What about non-emergency medical care like eye exams or dental appointments?

Nonessential medical care such as eye exams and teeth-cleaning should be postponed. When possible, health care visits should be done remotely. Contact your health care provider to see what telehealth services they provide.

Contact Lauren at or follow her on Twitter at @laurenechapman_.

This is a rapidly evolving story, and we are working hard to bring you the most up-to-date information. However, we recommend checking the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Indiana State Department of Health for the most recent numbers of COVID-19 cases.