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Lawmaker's Bill Would Prevent Many Future COVID-19 Restrictions

Justin Hicks
IPB News

An Indiana lawmaker wants to ban state and local governments from ever again imposing many of the COVID-19 restrictions in place over the last year.

Rep. Bob Morris’s (R-Fort Wayne) legislation would ban state and local governments from limiting a business’s hours of operation or occupancy; regulating what procedures hospitals can do; and requiring mask-wearing or social distancing in a church, unless those things are already in state or federal law.

All of those are executive orders Gov. Eric Holcomb has issued during the pandemic.

Joseph Ceruti runs a catering company in Fort Wayne that he said has been decimated by Holcomb’s restrictions.

“So many inconsistencies with these rules – they’re arbitrary; they don’t accomplish the goal,” Ceruti said.

As an example, Ceruti said it doesn’t make sense that a restaurant in his county can be at full capacity while he’s only allowed to hold events of 25 people or less in his much larger banquet halls.

READ MORE: How Do I Follow Indiana's Legislative Session? Here's Your Guide To Demystify The Process

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The bill also says local health officials can’t close private schools and churches in order to “prevent and stop epidemics.”

A House committee heard the measure Monday but did not vote on it.

During the hearing, Morris questioned whether mask-wearing was effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19. In reality, experts agree that wearing a mask can help prevent the virus’s spread and may even help reduce the severity of the illness when infected.

Contact reporter Brandon at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.