Photo courtesy Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Photo courtesy Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb took unprecedented actions Thursday and signed executive orders that extend the closure of schools, provide economic relief and protections for individuals and businesses, and expand unemployment insurance benefits for those impacted by job loss. For Montgomery County, that means several things including that schools will remain closed until at least May 1.
"The impact of this public health crisis is reverberating throughout our entire state, and Gov. Holcomb is taking unprecedented actions to protect all Hoosiers,” State Rep. Tim Brown of Crawfordsville said. “Wise budgeting gives the state flexibility to deal with the fiscal tolls, and we will continue taking this step by step, and making adjustments to combat this emergency."
Local superintendents got busy after they got the word. All three sent letters to their respective school communities indicating that they would comply with the state’s directive and explaining the situation.
"We understand that these are very difficult times for our school community,” Dr. Scott Bowling, superintendent of Crawfordsville Schools, said. “While students, parents, and teachers have done a wonderful job adapting to distance learning, it does place new and different efforts on everyone. Our faculty members are examining all aspects of our distance learning program on a daily basis to make sure expectations are appropriate. In addition, I want our students and families to know that we will all work through this situation together. School activities will return to normal after we weather this storm."
Dr. Shawn Greiner, superintendent at South, agreed.
“These truly are extraordinary times for everyone,” he said. “While we continue to follow the guidance we receive from state and local officials, we understand what an extended closure means for our students and families, our teachers and staff, and for the community as a whole. Southmont Schools will continue with elearning and meal service, and we are taking every opportunity to assess the current situation so that we can do all possible to best support our students, families, staff and community during this time of need.”
North Superintendent Dr. Colleen Moran responded with similar sentiments and said it was a new experience for everyone.
Overall, the state’s Department of Health reported Thursday that 17 new positive cases of COVID-19 brought the total number in Indiana to 56. The state population is approximately 6.7 million. The new cases involve residents of Howard (3), Lake (1), Marion (8), Owen (1), St. Joseph (2), Tippecanoe (1) and Wayne (1) counties. So far, two Hoosiers have died.
“Every day we learn more about how to tackle this monster. We are being thoughtful about how to approach every action we are taking in this national public health emergency and putting Hoosiers’ health and safety first,” Holcomb said.?Daily COVID-19 testing capacity in Indiana has expanded with the addition of a new partnership between the Indiana State Department of Health and Eli Lilly and Company, and at least one other entity has initiated testing this week. In the past 24 hours, about 200 tests have been completed.?“As we increase the number of tests analyzed each day, no one should be caught off guard that the number of positive cases will increase,” said Dr. Kris Box, state health commissioner. “This will help us know where community spread is occurring in Indiana and help us mobilize resources in affected areas.”
A summary of covered actions and the Executive Order are listed at the end of this story. Meanwhile, in Montgomery County, banks have joined scores of businesses in limiting access from the general public.
This announcement came from Tri-County Bank & Trust:
For the safety of our customers and staff due to the Corona Virus effective Thursday, March 19, 2020, Tri-County Bank & Trust Company will be closing our lobbies to the public until such time that it is safe to reopen.?The bank’s drive-up windows, Internet banking, and telephone services will not be affected.?We encourage customers needing services inside the bank lobby to contact the bank to set an appointment.?Bank lending will not be reduced, but alternative means of meeting lending staff may be altered. Bank staff will be available during the bank’s normal banking hours.?We apologize for the inconvenience and hope that soon the spread of this virus is eliminated.
The Champions of Character committee decided it is best to cancel the breakfast this year. They said they will contact all those who have already submitted nominations and close the form for new ones.
Home Depot changed the store hours and is now closing at 6 p.m.
Cato clothing store, located on the south side of Crawfordsville, announced that the store would be closed until April 1.
The Paper has a section of its website devoted to all the local news as we get it. So far there are more than 50 items on the page. In addition, we have the latest news from the state, including what state agencies are doing and some of the state-wide businesses.
One national agency that may have a local impact is the U.S. Small Business Administration. It has issued a disaster declaration for the state of Indiana, offering financial assistance for Hoosier small businesses impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the state.?The declaration is in response to a formal request Holcomb submitted with the SBA on Monday, seeking assistance through the organization’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.?“Small businesses play a critical role in driving Indiana’s economy forward, with more than 512,000 employing 1.2 million Hoosiers across the state,” Gov. Holcomb said. “These disaster loans will provide much needed financial support to small business owners who are weathering the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.”?Under the program, small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and nonprofits across the state are eligible to apply for low-interest loans up to $2 million to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue due to the COVID-19 outbreak. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills incurred during this public health emergency. The loan interest rates for small businesses and nonprofits are 3.75% and 2.75%, respectively, with terms up to 30 years.?To qualify for disaster loans, applicants must demonstrate credit history, the ability to repay the loan, and proof of physical presence in Indiana and working capital losses. Additionally, the Indiana Small Business Development Center, which has 10 regional offices throughout the state, will provide free business advising and application assistance for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.?To apply for loans or receive more information about the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, visit SBA.gov/Disaster. Contact 1-800-659-2955 or disastercustomerservice@sba.gov with additional questions. The deadline to apply for the disaster loans is Dec. 18, 2020.
And here is the summary from Thursday’s actions by the governor.
State of Emergency Extension?· The Governor will extend the current state of emergency an additional 30 days when it expires on April 5.?K-12 schools?· All K-12 public schools will remain closed until May 1. Non-public schools are also ordered closed. This date may be revised to extend through the end of the 2019-2020 school year if circumstances warrant.?· All-state mandated assessments will be canceled for the current academic year. The governor has contacted U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to share the state’s plan and also has asked the Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Jennifer McCormick to pursue any federal waivers needed to cancel the requirements for accountability, chronic absenteeism and state-mandated assessments.?Economy?· The state of Indiana will align with the federal government to delay state income tax payments from April 15 to July 15. The U.S. Treasury extended the deadline to pay federal income tax by 90 days.?· Penalties will be waived for 60 days for property tax paid after May 11. The state will work with counties that may experience cash flow stress because of the delay.?· The state will not immediately move forward with using $300 million in reserves to pay for several capital projects approved in the just-concluded legislative session and instead maintain flexibility to utilize the funds as needed for relief efforts and to maintain current services. The state will consider using bonding authority to move forward with the just-approved capital projects.?· Providers of essential utility services such as gas and electric, broadband, telecom, water and wastewater services are prohibited from discontinuing service to any customer during the public health emergency.?· The state’s application to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was approved on Wednesday. This program provides targeted, low-interest loans of up to $2 million to help small businesses and nonprofits overcome the temporary loss of revenue as a result of coronavirus. See more at SBA.gov/Disaster.?Unemployment Insurance Benefits?· The state will interpret Indiana’s unemployment laws to the broadest extent possible to cover Hoosiers who are out of work because of COVID-19.?· Benefits will be paid to individuals who file their initial unemployment claims late.?· The Department of Workforce Development will allow individuals to continue to accrue unemployment eligibility if they take work leave because of COVID-19.?· DWD will seek federal authorization to provide unemployment benefits for those who are not otherwise eligible for unemployment, such individuals who have recently started a job.?· For employers, DWD will not assess certain experience rate penalties because of employees who receive unemployment benefits because of COVID-19.?Housing?· No residential eviction proceedings or foreclosure actions may be initiated during the public health emergency. This does not relieve the individual of obligations to pay rent or mortgage payments.?· All public housing authorities are requested to extend deadlines for housing assistance recipients and required documentation to show eligibility for housing programs.?· The Indiana Department of Financial Institutions and Indiana Community Housing Development Authority are required to work with financial institutions to identify tools to help promote housing stability.?Social Services?· Participants in the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) and the Children’s Health Insurance Program are not required to make premium payments.?· Job search requirements are waived for those applying for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) benefits.?· The Family and Social Services Administration will seek a federal waiver to extend renewals for existing Medicaid and HIP recipients.?· Telehealth services for mental health, substance use disorder and prescribing for Medicaid covered services will be expanded.?Insurance?· The commissioner of the state Department of Insurance will request that insurers institute a 60-day moratorium on policy cancellations for non-payment of premiums. This does not suspend a policyholder’s obligation to make payments.?· The commissioner will ask health insurers to cover COVID-19 testing without requiring prior authorization.?· The commissioner will request that health insurers not increase prices or coverage costs that involve medical care for COVID-19.?Bureau of Motor Vehicles?· To limit the number of in-branch transactions, late fees will be waived for several driver’s licenses and identification card renewals, vehicle registrations, titles, and certain other transactions.?· Other operational changes in branches are being instituted to provide for the safety of employees and customers in branches, such as spacing between terminals and limiting the number of customers in the lobby.?Veterans?· Requirements have been relaxed for veterans to qualify for awards from the Military Family Relief Fund.?· Awards in excess of $2,500 may be approved by the IDVA director during the public health emergency.?Health and Professional Licensing?· Mental health professionals are permitted to practice via telemedicine.?· Advance Practice Registered Nurses are allowed to provide services in multiple locations.?· The state health commissioner may waive requirements of the nursing home certificate of need statute to respond to COVID-19 issues for long-term care facilities.?More information may be found at the ISDH website at in.gov/coronavirus/ and the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

Last night, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) issued a disaster declaration for the state of Indiana, offering financial assistance for Hoosier small businesses impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the state.?The declaration is in response to a formal request Governor Eric J. Holcomb submitted with the SBA on March 17, seeking assistance through the organization’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb today announced that Indiana small businesses are eligible for financial assistance under a disaster designation by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).?This declaration is in response to a formal request Gov. Holcomb submitted with the SBA on Tuesday, seeking assistance through the organization’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak in Indiana.?“Small businesses play a critical role in driving Indiana’s economy forward, with more than 512,000 employing 1.2 million Hoosiers across the state,” Gov. Holcomb said. “These disaster loans will provide much needed financial support to small business owners who are weathering the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.”?Under the program, small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and nonprofits across the state are eligible to apply for low-interest loans up to $2 million to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue due to the COVID-19 outbreak. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills incurred during this public health emergency. The loan interest rates for small businesses and nonprofits are 3.75% and 2.75%, respectively, with terms up to 30 years.?To qualify for disaster loans, applicants must demonstrate credit history, the ability to repay the loan, and proof of physical presence in Indiana and working capital losses. Additionally, the Indiana Small Business Development Center, which has 10 regional offices throughout the state, will provide free business advising and application assistance for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.?To apply for loans or receive more information about the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, visit SBA.gov/Disaster. Contact 1-800-659-2955 or disastercustomerservice@sba.gov with additional questions. The deadline to apply for the disaster loans is Dec. 18, 2020.