EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT)–The Evansville Mayor’s executive order goes into effect Monday during a surge in COVID-19 cases. Although, Vanderburgh County Health officials are calling for stricter regulations.
According to state guidelines, Hoosiers can gather in a crowd of 500 or few unless the event is approved by the health department. This will all change when Mayor Lloyd Winnecke’s executive order goes into effect on Monday, restricting the size of social gatherings to 125 people or less. This regulation is aimed at reducing the surge of positive COVID-19 cases.
“The data from the state board of health shows that there are a great influence,” explained Mayor Lloyd Winnecke. “The cases have been driven by two main causes. Large groups and in employees in nursing homes. That’s the big driver. Are there other cases? Yes.”
The Vanderburgh County Health Board has voted in favor of even stricter health guidelines. They are wanting restaurants and bars to operate at 50% capacity with limited hours, but Mayor Winnecke said that’s not going to happen. Limiting businesses could devastate the city’s economy.
“There are employers who have made hiring decisions. There are employers who have made inventory decisions and capital purchases anticipating they are going to be open so we are trying to take all of that into account including or advice from our hospitals, our health board, and in fact the State Board of Health,” said Mayor Winnecke.
Janie Antes and her husband have owned and operated a store on Franklin Street for 30 years. They say small businesses can’t afford to take another hit.
“I just don’t think businesses could survive. I mean, it’s been tough and I think another shut down would destroy so many people’s businesses and their lives,” said Antes. She said she hopes people take it upon themselves to socially distance, wear a mask, and wash their hands. This is all something they are doing to protect their customers. “I just think if people do what they are supposed to do we are going to be fine, but there are a lot of hard headed Dutchmen around here.”
The executive order will only last a week, but Mayor Winnecke said it can be renewed.
(This story was originally published on Oct. 16, 2020)