Monticello Mayor Cathy Gross. (Photo: Nikos Frazier | Journal & Courier)
MONTICELLO – Even as stay-at-home restrictions for businesses begin to relax around the state through Gov. Eric Holcomb’s five-phase plan, “Back on Track Indiana,” White County and Monticello have extended their emergency declaration, keeping restrictions in place as cases of coronavirus grow.
The local order was originally set to expire Friday now will run through 12:01 a.m. May 13.
White County has experienced a surge in cases of coronavirus, Monticello Mayor Cathy Gross said, which was part of the reasoning behind extending the emergency declaration.
According to the Indiana State Department of Health, White County, which borders Tippecanoe County to the north, had 130 confirmed cases and one death as of Thursday. That was up from 55 cases on May 2 — or a 136 percent increase in less than a week.
White County also borders Cass County, which experienced a rapid spike of cases after many employees at the Tyson plant tested positive for coronavirus. Cass County had 1,469 confirmed cases, as of Thursday.
After Cass County added its own restrictions April 28, Gross said people flooded White County.
“Our larger retailers — Walmart, Kroger and rural king — were inundated,” Gross said. “If you looked at the parking lots, nearly a third to half of had a Cass County plate. We felt our hand was forced.”
Gross made an executive order April 28, with White County commissioners adopting a resolution with the same language soon after.
Under the emergency declaration:
Every person who enters such businesses, including business employees, must wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth.Children under the age of sixteen (16) will not be allowed inside such businesses, unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.Such businesses shall monitor and enforce these orders.All those considered ‘high-risk’ are encouraged to avoid all public gatherings.All persons are recommended to wear face coverings in all public settings. Residents should also continue to practice social distancing and good hygiene.This Executive Order is supplemental to Governor Holcomb’s Executive Order No. 20-26 which all persons are recommended to review and obey. Pursuant to Governor Holcomb’s Order, retail and commercial businesses, including those that have been open for the necessities of life during previous Governor’s Executive Orders may operate at 50% of capacity.
Gross said she, White County commissioners, White County Emergency Management and the Board of Public Works and Safety will meet virtually again May 11 to re-evaluate the emergency declaration and consider the next steps to take.
“We just did a week of pretty serious restrictions,” Gross said. “We are also trying to follow the governor’s guidance and be cognizant of changes and issues in White County so we can best protect our community, not only physically but financially.”
Emily DeLetter is a news reporter for the Journal & Courier. Contact her at (765) 201-8515 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @EmilyDeLetter.
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