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Indy adjusts as travel and business restriction take effect

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Posted at 11:31 PM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 23:31:47-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Travel and business restrictions went into effect in Indianapolis on Tuesday.

Restauarants are adjusting to the new normal. The city is left to consider how or if to enforce the new travel restrictions.

"We are kind of operating blind, kind of like everybody else," Matt Iaria, owner of Iaria's Italian Restaurant, said. "There's no real handbook."

Mayor Joe Hogsett declared a 'local disaster emergency' limiting non-essential travel and closing bars, entertainment venues and certain businesses like gyms and movie theaters. The restrictions went into effect Tuesday.

The mayor's executive order coincides with Governor Eric Holcomb's directives, canceling any gatherings with more than 50 people.

The mayor's office said there will be no enforcement actions associated with the travel advisory. The city is asking people to minimize travel except to and from work, in emergency situations or to buy groceries, pick up food or prescriptions.

When asked during Monday's press conference, the governor would not answer whether the state would be initiating penalties either, saying he understand restaurant and businesses will experience "extreme hardship" but the guidelines in place will help stop the spread of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus.

"We're going to offer carry-out, we're going to offer delivery," Iaria said. "I'm sitting here trying to figure out a map of how far we're going to go right now."

It's the new normal for the business on College Avenue for the foreseeable future. Iaria said he's concerned about his employees.

Indy's independent restaurants sent the mayor a letter asking him to institute emergency unemployment benefits for all hourly and salaried employees furloughed during the crisis, among other measures.

"We probably employ about 25 between kitchen, bussers and serves," Iaria said. "We're just going to try to offer the best that we can. We're going to start with the people who depend on this for their main income."