The Washington County Health Department has seen a recent rapid spread in Covid-19 cases within our community.
Washington County has had 187 cases since November 1 and the State of Indiana has 90,318 total cases in that same time.
Currently, the county falls in the orange zone, which means the community spread is approaching high levels and a county point score of 2.0 – 2.5, according to the health department.
The health department would like the residents and businesses of Washington County to continue to follow the Executive Orders, Governor Eric Holcomb signed on Nov. 13 regarding wearing mask and the enforcement by businesses.
All Indiana businesses are expected to display signage alerting employees and customers that masks are required to be worn, according to Gov. Holcomb’s new pandemic-related executive order that went into effect on Sunday.
The latest order, which Holcomb signed Friday, requires all businesses to place “clearly visible signage at their public and employee entrances notifying that face coverings are required for all individuals entering the business.”
Businesses are also required to re-evaluate any existing COVID-19 response plan and “update it to reflect current business practices and safeguards,” the order says.
In May, Holcomb initially ordered businesses to create COVID-19 action plans, which were expected to include an employee screening process, cleaning and disinfecting procedures, and the availability of hand sanitizer or hand-washing supplies.
Businesses are also encouraged to suspend any sick leave policy that requires a doctor’s note.
The new restrictions and recommendations from Holcomb replace the five-stage reopening plan his administration unveiled in May and are in place through Dec. 12.
Most of the restrictions are based on the level of infection in each county. The state has developed a color-coded system that assesses the rate of infection and assigns one of four colors to each county.
Executive Order 20-48 (# 3 Section e. Face Covering Requirements)
- Every individual within the State of Indiana shall wear a face-covering over the nose and mouth when:
- i) Inside a business, a public building, or other indoor places open to the public. This does not extend, however, to private offices, private workspaces, or meetings in which six (6) feet of social distancing can be achieved and maintained between individuals not in the same household;
- ii) In an outdoor public space wherever it is not feasible to maintain six (6) feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household; or
- iii) Using public transportation or while in a taxi, private care service, or ride-sharing vehicle
This means that when customers come into a business, they should be wearing a mask properly.
All of Washington County, Indiana businesses shall follow the directives of the Indiana Executive Orders.
Executive Order 20-48 (# 4 Section b. Face Covering Requirements)
- i) Signage: All Hoosier businesses are required to place clearly visible signage at their public and employee entrances notifying them that face coverings are required for all individuals entering the business.
- ii) Employees: Businesses shall require employees to wear face coverings,
- iii) Customers, Clients and Visitors: Businesses should only admit those customers, clients, vendors, and other visitors who wear face coverings.
This means that businesses should have a sign on the outside of the business asking the public to wear a mask when entering the business and the businesses should also require the customers to actually wear the masks.
When drafting a legal document (such as an executive order) the term shall is used to say that something must be done, as opposed to the term may which simply means that something is allowed (i.e. that it can be done, but does not have to be done)
“Until vaccines are available, we are requesting every business/ individual within Washington County to do their part in slowing down the spread of Covid-19 within our community,” said Maggie Bordon of the Washington County Health Department.
Please refer to the full document for the rest of the Executive Order 20-48. https://www.in.gov/gov/files/Executive_Order_20-48_Color-Coded_County_Assessments.pdf
Refer to this link for an in-depth description of the requirements for all Hoosiers and targeted restrictions for counties based on color code metrics: https://www.in.gov/gov/files/Coronavirus_Response_Requirements.pdf