Decisions on next steps should be made at local level
Hoosiers are provided daily updates on the state’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, as well as plans on jump-starting the economy once executive orders limiting the movement of citizens and closing certain businesses are lifted. To ensure the governor is aware of House District 74’s current condition, our readiness to get back to work and our needs, I recently wrote a letter to Gov. Eric Holcomb expressing the next steps that should be taken on behalf of this area.
The efforts to keep Hoosiers alive and the impacts on the health care system were primary motivations for the stay-at-home order. Based on current data from the governor’s office, it is my analysis that the original threat of COVID-19 has not impacted Indiana in the ways that were initially predicted. The call for residents to hunker down, donate medical supplies, follow social-distancing protocols and close non-essential businesses worked. The diminished effects can be attributed to a long list of front-line heroes and, ultimately, Hoosiers coming together in this time of need.
It is my hope Crawford, Dubois, Orange, Perry and Spencer counties, which have not been impacted as severely as other areas, can work at the local level to allow non-essential businesses and certain state offices to open again.
As we continue to take the COVID-19 risk seriously, the focus should now be directed toward those the Indiana State Dept. of Health identified as being most at risk and on getting our economy moving in the right direction. I support Indiana re-opening businesses, state parks and other office buildings like the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and WorkOne Centers, as Hoosiers practice the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention transmission-based precautions and take personal responsibility.
Each county is impacted by this pandemic in different ways. Moving forward, local officials need to work together to open our economy back up, county by county, region by region. An important aspect of re-opening the state includes understanding how businesses will be able to operate with health concerns in mind, which makes local control the ideal forum for overseeing and monitoring this process.
We are still in this together, but the focus must shift toward Indiana’s long-term success by allowing local officials to take part in helping restore the economy and normalcy to our lives. I thank Gov. Holcomb for his leadership and appreciate his and his team’s efforts to keep Hoosiers safe and healthy. As we look to the next course of action, please share your input, thoughts and concerns with me by email at [email protected] or by phone at 1-317-232-9802.
Editor’s note: State Rep. Stephen Bartels, R-Eckerty, represents House District 74, which includes portions of Crawford, Dubois, Orange, Perry and Spencer counties.