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Howard County relaxes some COVID-19 restrictions

Low-risk businesses can reopen
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Posted at 2:50 PM, Apr 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-13 20:18:08-04

KOKOMO -- It's not back-to-normal, but it's a start.

In Howard County, businesses considered "low-risk" are being allowed to reopen. The decision, by the Howard County Board of Commissioners, was announced Monday. The county, which include the City of Kokomo, has a population of about 82,000.

Dr. Don Zent, Howard County Health Officer with the Howard County Health Department, supports the plan and the opening of select businesses and services identified as low-risk. "“This approach is based on the fact that maintaining good public health practices, including social distancing, and personal hygiene, will continue to slow the transmission of COVID-19 within our community,” Dr. Zent said.

"The concept of ‘stay at home’ is still important especially for the most vulnerable populations, the elderly, and those with underlying health problems. This appears to be the most appropriate course of action at this time.," said Dr. Zent.

In mid-March, the commission, in response to the growing COVID-19 threat, approved countywide restrictions to help flatten the curve. According to Commissioner Paul Wyman, "area hospitals remain capable of providing healthcare services to all citizens, regardless of condition."

Monday's order include the following businesses:

  • Lawn Care/Landscaping – must be able to operate with social distancing requirements and meet all CDC requirements
  • Pet Groomers – pet drop off and pick up at door
  • Florist – shops not open to public, only delivery to funeral homes and residences with contactless front porch delivery/drop off
  • Carwash – no touch washing
  • Dry Cleaning, Uniform Shops – emphasis on supporting medical community and first responders – drop off and pick up.
  • Bike Repair – drop off and pick up only
  • Computer Repair – drop off and pick up only

“Based on advice from medical experts, we have been given the assurance that our stay-at-home, flatten the curve message has been working. The services represented by these businesses are consistent with our work,” said Paul Wyman.

“As a community we have had some of the toughest restrictions around the state, and based on our successes to this point, this provides us an opportunity to begin to match up with the state’s directive, while maintaining our local efforts to get to the other side of this crisis.”

“I would like to thank the community for working together and staying home as much as possible. This has put us in a good position to look forward beyond this crisis, while still maintaining efforts to ensure the safety of our community.” said, Jack Dodd, commissioner.

“This crisis has been like no other our community has experienced. There is no playbook for it however, I believe all of us working together has enabled our community to not only address immediate concerns, but allow us to plan for our future,” said Brad Bray, commissioner.

Under review are non-essential retail establishments to have the opportunity for internet orders with curbside delivery.