UPDATED MARCH 27. Nice weather entices people to get out of the house and use the City’s parks and trail networks. While Indy Parks director Linda Broadfoot is glad to see so many people out using public greenspaces and trails, she also offers the following cautionary advice, “When you visit a park, please make sure you are following CDC guidance on social distancing — give each other space, avoid gathering in large groups, and be respectful of our spaces.” Read more.
March 26 update
Two Midtown-based nonprofits were included in the first round of grant funding from the Central Indiana COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund. Established March 13, by the United Way of Central Indiana to support human services organizations and the individuals and families they serve, the grants were awarded to Coburn Place Safe Haven ($50,000) and Martin Luther King Community Center ($100,000.)
March 25 update
Beginning today, childcare for 100 children (ages 5 to 12) will be available for families of Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) and Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD) at a discounted rate. The program will be administered by the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis and AYS at multiple locations in Marion County. First responders in need of childcare for children under the age of 5 will be referred to Early Learning Indiana who has more than 200 spots at facilities around Marion County available.
“The men and women of our public safety agencies are on the front lines of our community’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, working long hours and prioritizing resident needs,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett said in a statement. “Indianapolis is committed to stepping forward and helping to provide much-needed support to these individuals and their family during this unprecedented time.”
In accordance with CDC guidelines, children at these community-supported childcare facilities will be kept in separate groups of 10 or less to minimize risk for both childcare providers and youth participants. Additionally, each child will participate in a health screening and temperature check as part of drop-off protocol.
March 24 update
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) is advising all businesses that rely on delivery drivers to exercise caution and reduce the chance of becoming a victim of crime by following these tips:
- Drivers should limit the amount of cash on hand
- Credit cards should be used for all delivery sales whenever possible
- For those taking the order, advise the caller/customer to meet the driver outside
- Always ask for a customer call back number and verify the number prior to delivery
- Prior to delivery, instruct the driver to utilize the call back number to confirm the delivery and be sure to meet outside, in a well-lit location
The Indianapolis Fire Department has launched a hiring process through April 24. Applicants must be at least 21 years of age and not have turned 36 years of age by date of hire OR may be up to 40 years and 6 months of age if served 20 years of military service. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED, no felony convictions that have not been expunged by a court, a valid driver’s license, be a US Citizen or legally able to work in the US, and be willing to reside in Marion County or a contiguous county. Applicants must apply online
March 23 update
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett today issued Executive Order No. 2-2020 [PDF] upgrading Marion County’s travel emergency to a “warning,” the highest level allowed under state law, restricting travel except for emergency situations and essential functions. The order will take effect at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, March 24 and remain in effect through at least Monday, April 6, 2020. Additionally, Mayor Hogsett ordered closure of all non-essential business activity. “These restrictions are burdensome and disruptive, but they are necessary,” he said in a statement. “This crisis is real, it is here now, and through this action I am confident that we will save lives in Indianapolis.”
Citizens Energy Group (CEG) announced today that it is asking customers whose utility services have been turned off for non-payment to call the utility at (317) 924-3311 to have their service reconnected. In a statement, CEG president & CEO Jeffrey Harrison said, “Because of the importance of hand washing and hygiene during the COVID-19 emergency, Citizens urges all customers without water and/or natural gas service to call us immediately. During this serious public health emergency, Citizens is working to do everything it can to help customers in need.” CEG will work to reconnect customers as soon as possible and will accept whatever payment customers can make to reconnect their service. CEG pledged to use assistance from various sources to help with the outstanding balances until those funds are depleted. Because of the nature of this crisis, preference for reconnection will be given to water and wastewater customers first, then natural gas customers.
March 22 update
The $16.5 million Central Indiana COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund was established March 13, 2020 by the United Way of Central Indiana to support human services organizations and the individuals and families they serve who are affected directly and indirectly by the public health emergency. Founding partners are Lilly Endowment Inc., Central Indiana Community Foundation, Eli Lilly and Company Foundation, Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation and United Way of Central Indiana. Central Indiana residents who need help can call 2-1-1 to get connected to services. For faster service go to website.
March 20 update
In response to Governor Eric Holcomb’s executive order [PDF] to suspend Indiana’s election statute and move the date of this year’s Indiana primary election from May 5 to June 2, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett supported the change and promised in a statement to make the June 2 primary election as accessible as possible. “In accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the City of Indianapolis will be taking unprecedented steps to enable and encourage voting by mail, including mailing every registered voter an absentee ballot application with instructions on how they can request to vote by mail.”
March 19 update
Marion County public safety and public health agencies announced the upgrade today of the Marion County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to Level 1 status. Representatives from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD), Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD), Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services (IEMS), Marion County Public Health Department (MCPHD), Marion County Sheriff’s Office, and local hospitals convene at the EOC to monitor the developing situation around the clock and provide a coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented situation that requires an unprecedented response from our community,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett in a statement. “Having our public safety and public health agencies in constant communication ensures the paramedics, firefighters, officers, and healthcare professionals on the frontlines of this crisis have the most up-to-date information and are best prepared to keep themselves and the residents we all serve safe.”
Dr. Virginia Caine, Director of MCPHD, added her own statement, “We are actively monitoring our local hospitals, clinics, and primary care providers, making sure they have the equipment, resources, and support they need to serve individuals suffering from COVID-19. We continue to ask our residents to wash their hands frequently, maintain a 6-foot distance from those around them, and stay at home if at all possible. If someone believes they are exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19, we ask them to take advantage of telehealth services or call their doctor before visiting a healthcare system”
The last time the EOC was activated to Level 1 was in 2006, when straight-line winds ripped through downtown and shattered windows of skyscrapers. In 2004, a tornado that occurred during the Indy 500 resulted in a Level 2 activation.
March 18 update
Today, the Indy Chamber launched a new Rapid Response Hub to inform small business owners of options and information. At a press conference in the Mayor’s office, Mayor Hogsett and Indy Chamber CEO Michael Huber touted the effort. “Our Hub provides up-to-date information, and connections to existing resources, to help impacted businesses navigate this uncertain time,” Huber said. “ This is an unprecedented situation, but Indianapolis has historically proven that in times of crisis, we come together and help each other across the public, private, and philanthropic sectors.”
“I want to applaud the efforts of the Indy Chamber as they convene and deploy resources for those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Mayor Hogsett. “But I want to be clear that no local programming will be enough to fully address these emergency needs. That’s why I urge all businesses to take advantage of resources at the Chamber to prepare so they can take advantage of federal disaster relief on day one.”
Video of the full press conference is available here.
March 16 update
Mayor Joe Hogsett and Dr. Virginia Caine of the Marion County Public Health Department today issued a series of orders for Marion County and announced a new online repository of local COVID-19 Community Resources.
Mayor Hogsett’s first executive order of the year [PDF] declares a local disaster emergency and outlines a series of steps to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The Marion County Public Health Department’s Order [PDF] states that the following establishments will be temporarily closed to the public as soon as possible but no later than 8 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17:
- Bars and nightclubs that do not serve food;
- Movie theaters and entertainment venues;
- Gyms and fitness facilities.
The following restrictions will also apply, and should be implemented as soon as possible but no later than 8 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17:
- All restaurants will be prohibited from serving food to dine-in customers but may continue to prepare and offer food via carry-out, delivery, or drive-thru. Additionally, food pantries/food banks may continue to work with restaurants and kitchens as necessary for distribution of overflow food items.
- Gatherings of more than 50 people must be cancelled or postponed, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations. This does not apply to schools, universities, or businesses.
- Houses of worship are urged to limit large gatherings on their premises and to explore and implement ways to practice their respective faiths while observing social-distancing practices.
- Residents should adhere to the watch-level local travel advisory, minimizing travel except to and from work, in emergency situations, or to purchase groceries and pick-up prescriptions or food.
The following establishments will continue to operate as usual:
- Grocery stores will remain open;
- And cafeterias within hospitals, nursing homes, and similar healthcare facilities will continue operations.
The above restrictions will take effect at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17 and will remain in place for at least the next seven days. Mayor Hogsett intends to seek City-County Council approval at tonight’s council meeting to extend the order through at least April 5, 2020.
Based on Governor Eric Holcomb’s request to limit gatherings to 250 people or less, Mayor Joe Hogsett announced March 12 that all Marion County public schools will be closed until April 5.
The mayor also directed Dr. Virginia Caine of the Marion County Health Department to implement local restrictions on all non-essential gatherings of more than 250 individuals in Indianapolis. [PDF] This restriction will be in effect for 30 days, although the situation will continue to be monitored daily.
Midtown institutions are taking the following measures to deal with COVID-19. (updated regularly.)
Broad Ripple Village Association (BRVA) is working with ten Broad Ripple companies that donated $1000 each to create the ‘Rona Relief Fund which will be used to provide relief gifts to service employees in need as well as to purchase gift cards from Village restaurants and retail outlets affected by the public health emergency. Learn more about the nine firms and nominate a service employee to receive a gift. BRVA has also published a list of Village eateries offering curbside or delivery options.
Butler University has closed its residential housing and extended online learning through the end of the spring semester. In addition, all in-person events are canceled for the remainder of the semester, including the campus commencement ceremony scheduled for May 9, 2020. Online updates.
Christian Theological Seminary (CTS) will begin conducting all classes online Monday, March 16. The online mode of delivery will be operative until at least Monday, April 13. All administrative offices, the admissions office, and the library are closed. All other events sponsored and/or hosted by CTS have been suspended. The CTS Counseling Center will be closed for all counseling sessions until further notice, however clinicians and program directors are working to move counseling sessions to secure and approved video and phone platforms. Updates.
Crown Hill Funeral Home continues to serve its clients. It is following CDC recommendations and has increased daily cleaning of the facility with the understanding that regular cleaning is one of the most important preventive measures that can be taken. Updates.
Flanner Buchanan announced that its Broad Ripple location (and all others) will remain open however all Flanner Buchanan services will be limited to immediate family. Friends will be permitted by invitation only. Livestreaming and recording of services will be available to clients at no charge. Details.
Indiana State Fairgrounds has suspended events at the Indiana State Fairgrounds & Event Center until further notice. Staff will work in the coming weeks to reschedule those events if possible. A ticket refund policy is being developed and will be communicated when finalized. Updates.
The Indianapolis Art Center is closed to the public until March 30. In addition, The Library Coffee Bar will be closed until further notice. Updates.
Indianapolis Opera is postponing and rescheduling its community events and the mainstage performances scheduled through April 26, 2020 including Brundibar & Vedem. Updates
Ivy Tech Community College will extend the delivery of courses virtually through the remainder of the current semester. Courses will restart March 23 and conclude May 16, all being offered virtually. The College will monitor and adjust this timeline as more is learned about COVID-19 nationwide and in the state.
Ivy Tech locations will remain open to provide student and business office assistance including the ability for students to meet with advisors, admissions and financial aid, use computers, and access to faculty as needed. Accommodations will be made for labs, clinicals and some technology courses to meet in groups of 10 or less as needed if social distancing can be assured. Information regarding such meetings will be provided to students from their faculty. Faculty and staff will continue to be on location to provide assistance. Updates.
Kheprw Institute is canceling all public events at least until April 30, including the entrepreneur hub coworking hours at Alkhemy, 3802 N. Illinois Street.
Marion County Small Claims Court Circuit Court Judge Sheryl Lynch issued an order [PDF] to continue all cases, including non-emergency eviction cases, before all Small Claims Courts in Marion County through the end of this month.
The Meridian Kessler Neighborhood Association is supporting the neighborhood’s hospitality industry by post a list of restaurants that offer carry-out or delivery options.
MLK Center has cancelled all community center activities and meetings until further notice. This includes all child care, after school care and spring break care. Volunteers continue to deliver meals, with priority given to Midtown and Mid-North neighborhoods. An online food delivery request form must first be completed. Volunteers are needed for a variety of duties. Details and updates.
Midtdown Indy has cancelled the 2nd Annual Tarkington Park Fest originally scheduled for June 6. Organizers are monitoring the health crisis in hopes of selecting a safe date later in the year to host the event.
Newfields has closed its entire campus through April 14. Updates.
The Broad Ripple Farmers Market will be closed through April 30 but it is working with vendors who have a variety of options for customers to purchase their products. Details
The American Legion will comply with Governor Holcomb’s order to close all bars, nightclubs and restaurants through the end of March. This includes the American Legion Post 34, at 2210 E. 54th Street. Details.
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis will remain closed through April 10, 2020. The museum also will postpone the re-opening of Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience. The museum’s preschool will also close temporarily, and all programs and events that were scheduled to take place through March 28, 2020 will be postponed. The museum is providing virtual tours, educational units of study and fun, whimsical things to do at its Museum-At-Home. Anyone can use these study tools for free. The units of study are broken down in to school grade levels so adults can choose content that best fits their child’s age. Updates will be posted to the museum’s website and on social media.
Citizens Energy Group (CEG) on March 13, suspended disconnecting utility services until April 15. The utility also pledged to execute any request for water turn-on until April 15. The company urges all customers to do their best to stay current on their utility bill. Customers who need assistance on their utility bill should call (317) 924-3311. Further, CEG reports it is well prepared to ensure its vital utility services are not interrupted during the COVID-19 emergency. Updates
City of Indianapolis Department of Parks and Recreation will provide free meals to all children 18 and under. The Indy Parks Mobile Serving Site in Midtown is Broad Ripple Park, 1550 Broad Ripple Ave., Monday – Friday, noon – 12:30 p.m. The van will be parked outside the Family Center. Second Helpings will provide sack lunches for adults.
City of Indianapolis Department of Public Works reports that essential operations will continue uninterrupted. To avoid a trip to the City-County building, DPW encourages using online resources.
- To contest a parking ticket: email email@example.com
- To discuss a stormwater lien release: email firstname.lastname@example.org
- To view a meeting of the Board of Public Works or the Public Works Committee visit WCTY
Trash pickup: DPW reports that solid waste partners Republic Services and Waste Management have a continued understanding with Indy DPW that all trash pick-up operations are currently expected to proceed as scheduled.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department ( IMPD) is closing district roll call lobbies and the Citizens Services Desk at the City-County Building, effective immediately. While lobbies will be closed to the public, roll calls will remain manned 24 hours a day. Residents can file some reports over the phone and access other non-emergency services by calling 317-327-3811.
Indianapolis Power & Light Company has suspended disconnection for nonpayment until April 15 for residential and business customers. IPL recommends all customers do their best to maintain timely utility bill payments, as they will be responsible to pay all charges associated with usage during this period. While the IPL customer service center at 2102 N. Illinois St., is closed to the public, customers who pay in person have the following options:
- By phone: 317.261.8222, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- By mail: send check to P.O. Box 110, Indianapolis, IN 46206-0110.
- In-person at an EZ Pay kiosk or at an authorized pay agent, such as certain Kroger locations.
The Indianapolis Public Library has decided to close all locations and bookmobile services to the public until further notice. This includes cancellation of all Library programming occurring inside and outside our buildings. No need to worry about fines for overdue materials. Any physical materials currently checked out will have their due dates extended until the library reopens. And any holds that were placed will be waiting for you to pick up when the library reopens. Meanwhile, library staff is available to help with e-book reading suggestions, questions, and reference help during the library’s closure. Call 317-275-4184 or text 317-333-6877 during regular Central Library hours or message IndyPL on social media. Your IndyPL Library card provides free access to e-books, music, movies, audiobooks, online courses and more. A full listing of IndyPL’s digital collections is on IndyPL’s download and stream page. Additional Updates.
Indianapolis Public Schools will provide breakfast and lunch to all students Monday–Friday through April 3, 2020. The IPS Food Service team will distribute pre-packaged meals Monday-Friday from the parking lot of several IPS schools. Midtown schools include James Whitcomb Riley School 43, 150 W. 40th St. between 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Louis B. Russell Jr. School 48, 3445 Central Ave. from 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Meal service is open to all students age 18 and younger, including non-IPS students. Meals are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Details.
IndyGo is increasing the frequency of bus cleaning and sanitization which includes Electrostatic Disinfection, a spray treatment that disinfects hard to reach areas in the interior of every bus and also provides a thin barrier for longer-lasting protection. While onboard, riders are encouraged to keep a safe distance from other patrons. Additional antibacterial stations are being provided at the Carson Transit Center but visits to the Carson Transit Center lobby will be limited to 30 minutes and restrooms will be closed to the public to limit large crowds until further notice.
Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (KIB) is postponing all volunteer projects, cleanups, Adopt-A-Block/Great Indy Cleanup supply distribution, and in-person meetings through April 5. KIB makes the following recommendations for people looking to feel good by doing good:
Volunteering outside around your home is still a safe, healthy activity, provided you avoid groups of more than 10 people, and practice recommended social distancing.
- Take a walk around your neighborhood or a nearby park, looking for signs of spring.
- Prep garden beds or prune back overgrowth in your yard.
- Clear your storm drain! The weather forecast predicts a warm, wet end of the week. Make sure the curbs and drains near your home are free of debris so rain water can flow smoothly and prevent street flooding.
- Pick up litter! Feeling stir crazy or looking for an interactive science lesson for the kids? Grab a pair of gloves, an old grocery bag, and see how litter-free your neighborhood can be.
Even while practicing safe distancing, Richard Louv, co-founder of the Children & Nature Network says there are positive steps (literally!) to take that boost one’s immune system, reduce stress, and improve mental and physical health. 10 Nature Activities to Help Get Your Family Through the Coronavirus Pandemic.
The Post Carbon Institute is offering its Think Resilience online course for free until Earth Day. Think Resilience is an online course designed to motivate viewers to you start doing something about climate change and to tackle other sustainability challenges—starting in your own community. The series of twenty-two short video lectures features Richard Heinberg, one of the world’s foremost experts on the urgency of transitioning society away from fossil fuels.
The St. Margaret’s Hospital Guild 2020 Decorators’ Show House and Gardens to benefit Eskenazi Health has been rescheduled for July 11-26, 2020.
Grocery Stores Updates
Dollar General -Dollar General Corporation is dedicating the first hour of each shopping day to senior shoppers.
Fresh Thyme Market will be open exclusively for customers over the age of 60 and customers who may have a compromised immune system between 6 a.m. – 8 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Additionally, Fresh Thyme Market will be will be open exclusively for key healthcare personnel and first responders (w/ professional ID) 6 a.m. – 8 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Fresh Market is designating special shopping hours between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. Monday – Friday for seniors and other individuals most at risk. All in-store food and beverage sampling, including free coffee samples, has been stopped temporarily.
Kroger has established exclusive shopping times for Seniors 60 & Older: 7 a.m. – 8 a.m., Monday – Thursday.
Meijer stores and pharmacies will provide dedicated shopping on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-8 a.m. for senior citizens and customers with chronic health conditions. Essential service workers will be able to shop from 7-8 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Safeway has extended hours to 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. It is holding off on special shopping hours for elderly customers.
Target reserves the first hour of shopping every Wednesday for those over 65 years of age, pregnant women, or those defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as vulnerable or at-risk.
Resources for Employers and Employees
The livelihood of many residents is being disrupted by business closures and social distancing requirements.
A FAQ on Indiana Unemployment Insurance [PDF]
EmployIndy and WorkOne Indy are committed to supplying employment resources where possible. While services will not be offered on-site, job seeker assistance and support is still available via email and phone. For personal assistance, individuals may call the WorkOne Indy front desk number: 317-798-0335, or email: email@example.com.
Individuals who have received permanent or temporary dislocation due to COVID-19 are encouraged to file for unemployment insurance online via a computer or smartphone through the Indiana Department of Workforce Development website. Residents can call the unemployment insurance help line: 1-800-891-6449, or access a video tutorial for filing assistance.
Virtual support, such as career development tips, job seeker resources and more can be found WorkOneIndy website.
On March 18, the Indy Chamber launched a new Rapid Response Hub to inform small business owners of options and information. At a press conference in the Mayor’s office, Mayor Hogsett and Indy Chamber CEO Michael Huber touted the effort. “Our Hub provides up-to-date information, and connections to existing resources, to help impacted businesses navigate this uncertain time,” Huber said. “ This is an unprecedented situation, but Indianapolis has historically proven that in times of crisis, we come together and help each other across the public, private, and philanthropic sectors.”
With more than 512,000 small businesses throughout the state, Gov. Holcomb requested that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) issue an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration supporting small businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak in Indiana. The program would provide targeted, low-interest loans up to $2 million in order to help small businesses overcome the temporary loss of revenue as a result of coronavirus. Nonprofits would also be eligible for loan assistance through the program. Details