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City task force checking up on business COVID-19 compliance

Some get passing grades, others don't
Posted at 10:36 PM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-26 22:36:26-04

INDIANAPOLIS — As businesses begin to reopen in Indianapolis, the question must be asked: Are they following Health Department COVID-19 restrictions and safety precautions?

Some are and some aren't.

That's the initial finding of a task force made up of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the Marion County Public Health Department, the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services, and the Indianapolis Fire Department.

The task force checks to be sure businesses are following health department orders as they began to reopen. The restrictions and safety precautions are intended to keep customers and employees safe amid the pandemic.

“Today, public health remains our top priority, but thanks to Marion County residents who wore face coverings, kept travel to a minimum, and stayed inside when they could – we have now begun the process of reopening our economy,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “It is because of what we have done over the last eight weeks that we are moving a few steps forward, but it will be because of our continued commitment to public health that we are able to complete this journey.”

In its first week, the task force checked on 79 restaurants and small businesses. 18 locations were not in compliance, but legal action was only required in two cases. 11 businesses had opened before they were supposed to, but closed when told they were in violation.

Residents who believe a business may be operating in violation of public health orders are asked to email and provide as many details as possible

“As a result of promising public health data, we are slowly easing restrictions in Marion County, but that does not mean it is time to let our guard down,” said Marion County Public Health Department director and chief medical officer Dr. Virginia Caine. “Maintaining six feet of social distancing when in public, wearing a face covering, and washing our hands in warm water for 20 seconds are actions that are critical to protecting ourselves and our neighbors, and ensuring we continue to move toward getting back on track.”

On May 15, retail stores considered non-essential were permitted to reopen at 50-percent capacity with social distancing. Other business could reopen next week if restrictions are lifted.