March 25, 2020

It Is Not Business As Usual In Indiana, Until At Least April 6, 2020

Written By

D. Andrew Nestrick
Member, Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC

March 25, 2020

D. Andrew Nestrick
Member, Stoll Keenon Ogden, PLLC
(812) 452-3510


On Monday, March 23, 2020, Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb issued Executive Order 20-08, which is more commonly known as the “Directive for Hoosiers to Stay at Home.” This was the latest Executive Order issued by the Governor in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Effective Dates

The Executive Order takes effect on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, and is to remain in effect through April 6, 2020. The Governor can rescind, modify, or extend the Executive Order.

You can review the Order by clicking here. It covers many different government and business functions. This bulletin is intended to only address how the Executive Order impacts businesses in general.

Essential Businesses and Operations

The Executive Order provides that all businesses and operations in the State of Indiana, except for Essential Businesses and Operations, are required to cease all activities within the State, except, however, for Minimum Basic Operations. All Essential Businesses and Operations are encouraged to remain open per the Executive Order.

“Essential Businesses and Operations” include, among others, stores that sell groceries and medicine, businesses involved with food, beverage, and agriculture, gas stations, auto supply, auto repair, farm equipment, banks, title companies, hardware stores, trade businesses (for example, plumbers, electricians, HVAC, painting), dry cleaners, businesses that sell products needed for people to work from home, home-based care services, professional service providers (for example, law firms, accounting firms), manufacturing companies, hotels, and funeral homes.

Restaurants, bars, and taverns that prepare food for carry-out and/or delivery are also considered essential businesses. Dine-in service is not permitted.

The list of “Essential Businesses and Operations” is lengthy. Business owners should review the list to determine whether their business qualifies and, to the extent there is a question about it, consult with legal counsel.

Social Distancing Requirements Apply to Essential Businesses and Operations

If a business falls within the category of “Essential Businesses and Operations”, then it may continue to operate. However, even “Essential Businesses and Operations” are ordered to modify business practices in order to stay in compliance with the Executive Order. For example, these essential businesses must take proactive measures to ensure compliance with Social Distancing Requirements, including, where possible, designating 6-foot distances for spacing between employees and customers, having hand sanitizer readily available for employees and customers, implementing separate operating hours for the elderly and vulnerable customers, and posting online whether a facility is open and how best to reach the facility and to continue services by phone or remotely.

Remote Work and Hygiene Requirements Apply to Essential Businesses and Operations

All businesses, including “Essential Businesses and Operations” are ordered to (i) allow as many employees as possible to work from home, (ii) encourage sick employees to stay home until they are free of fever for at least 72 hours and symptoms have improved for at least 72 hours and at least seven days has past since symptoms began, (iii) ensure that your sick leave policies are up-to-date, flexible, and non-punitive in order to allow sick employees to stay home to care for themselves, children, or other family members, (iv) separate employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms from other employees and send them home immediately, (v) remind employees about practicing good hygiene and place posters in areas where they are most likely to be seen to reinforce this message, (vi) frequently perform enhanced environmental cleaning of commonly-touched services, such as work stations, countertops, railings, door handles, and door knobs, and (vii) be prepared to change business practices, if needed, in order to maintain critical operations.

Nonessential Businesses Can Continue Minimum Basic Operations

If a business does not fall within the definition of “Essential Businesses and Operations,” then that business must cease all activities except for “Minimum Basic Operations.”

“Minimum Basic Operations” includes having employees carry out the minimum necessary activities to (i) maintain the value of the businesses’ inventory, (ii) preserve the condition of its physical plant and equipment, (iii) ensure security, (iv) process payroll and employee benefits or for related functions, and (v) the minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences. Nonessential businesses must also adhere to the Social Distancing Requirements set forth above.


The Executive Order may be enforced by state and local law enforcement, as well as other governmental entities, such as the local Department of Health.

What Should Businesses Do in Light of the Directive for Hoosiers to Stay at Home?
Determine whether their business falls within the definition of “Essential Businesses and Operations”. Consult legal counsel as necessary.

If the business is “essential,” then continue operations, but adapt business practices to adhere to the Social Distancing Requirements and Remote Work and Hygiene Requirements.

If the business is “nonessential,” then cease conducting business, but continue with “Minimum Basic Operations.”

Stoll Keenon Ogden understands that these are trying times for our clients and our country. Our firm operations have continued uninterrupted and our attorneys are equipped to serve as we always have – for over 120 years. If you would like to discuss the Indiana Directive for Hoosiers to Stay at Home, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on your operations, or any other important matters, please do not hesitate to contact your trusted SKO professional.

Please also be sure to check out the Stoll Keenon Ogden COVID-19 Resource webpage linked here for additional articles and information related to the latest information new laws and directives enacted by federal, state, and local governments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Written By