Indiana News

Fighting coronavirus tops Gov. Eric Holcomb’s 2021 legislative agenda

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on Thursday unveiled his legislative agenda for the 2021 legislative session.

Fighting the coronavirus pandemic is what Holcomb said is the biggest issues he wants to address.

“Managing through the surge and safely accelerating out of this pandemic will remain priority No. 1,” Holcomb said. “Our response and recovery efforts are all geared toward protecting lives and livelihoods.”

To keep that momentum, Holcomb wants to start a comprehensive assessment of state-delivered public health services and local health departments.

“This is just an honest assessment that ‘Hey, what are we learning through this crisis? What happens in the future? Because we don’t know and we want to be prepared for that. We want to make sure that in terms of communication, in terms of resources, in terms of nimbleness,'” the governor said.

Indiana State Department of Health on Thursday reported 79 more deaths from COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 6,860. The department also said 6,458 more Hoosiers tested positive for the virus. A total of 447,190 Hoosiers have tested positive for COVID-19.

Also on the legislative agenda for 2021 is teacher compensation. Last year, thousands of teachers marched on Indianapolis, demanding action. The Next Level Teacher Compensation Commission report released this week calls for boosting Hoosier average teacher pay to $60,000 annually. State leaders said it would have to come up with about $600 million to do that.

“What I’ve said in the past is I think that there needs to be an average, you know, beginning and an average teacher salary in the state of Indiana that is equal to or better than all of our competition in the Midwest,” Holcomb said.

The governor said he has read the report and will read it again. It outlines dozens of suggestions for state leaders and local school districts to consider, to reach that goal.

“As we continue to put more and prioritize increasing dollars to the top of that funnel, we want to make sure it gets into teacher paychecks. We will have to continue to partner, as we have, with Superintendents, with principals, with teachers, to realize that,” Holcomb said.

The Governor’s Office launched an online dashboard Thursday where you can compare average full-time teacher salaries and compensation, among the state’s school districts.

Infrastructure is another focus of Holcomb’s legislative agenda. The governor said he wants to take care of the roads Indiana has and finish what the state has started. His agenda calls for finishing the final section of the Interstate 69 extension, which is 26 miles from Martinsville to Indianapolis.

Holcomb says he wants the infrastructure momentum to keep driving forward.

“Building the new road projects we need in all 92 counties. Like completing I-69’s section six before I leave office. And finishing the process to obtain a record of decision for a new Evansville I-69 bridge. And making progress on an Indy to South Bend cruise control US 31 and major corridor improvements on US 30. We are full speed ahead on building out 2 of America’s biggest public transit rail projects.” Holcomb said Thursday.

Responses to Governor Holcomb’s 2021 legislative agenda

“Hoosiers are struggling across our state right now. It’s imperative that any policy agenda recognize this and provide real solutions that Hoosiers can access immediately. Unfortunately, you wouldn’t even know we were in the middle of a public health crisis when looking at the governor’s agenda. This pandemic brought to light many of the ways Indiana is lacking in its support for our residents.

Where is the support for working Hoosiers? We should be pushing for better workers’ compensation benefits for those who get sick on the job and finding ways for all Hoosiers to have access to paid leave to take care of their families. We certainly shouldn’t be giving businesses liability protections for not following basic safety measures to keep their workers healthy.

Where is the help for Hoosiers who have lost their jobs or seen their wages reduced due to the health pandemic? The governor made no mention of fixing the months-long delays in Unemployment Insurance payments for folks who lost their jobs through no fault of their own. The governor made no mention of helping the hardest hit in our communities not lose their homes. Where is any assistance with rent or mortgage payments? Where is any mention of state support of foodbanks that are stretched incredibly thin right now? There is nothing in this agenda that gives our neighbors the real help that they need now.

Where is a concrete commitment to Hoosier teachers? Our educators can’t stand another year of half-truths or false promises. Democrats in the Statehouse have long proposed many of the recommendations the governor’s own teacher pay commission shared. There needs to be a firm effort to approve our creative and fiscally-responsible ways to guarantee teachers are paid a living wage. The governor’s promise to just read a report isn’t good enough.

Where is the governor’s promise to pass police and justice reform measures? This past summer, the governor told Hoosiers he would listen to civil rights leaders and communities of color to create a plan that ensures our justice system treats everyone fairly, no matter their background. There is not one single mention of his commitment to racial justice after a year where we saw clear problems in the ways law enforcement treats our citizens.

Where is the priority to give more Hoosiers access to their vote? COVID-19 showed how important policies such as no-excuse absentee voting or secure ballot drop boxes are to supporting our free and fair elections.

The governor may feel these issues are not priorities, but I can assure you that Senate Democrats will listen to the real needs of all Hoosiers. We will demand more support for our state’s working class. We will demand increased access to your right to vote. We will demand real teacher pay increases. We will demand that all Hoosiers find equal representation under the law.”

Greg Taylor, (D) Indianapolis

“Two issues immediately stood out to me in the governor’s next agenda. First, I am pleased that the governor continues to put emphasis on the protection of pregnant women in their workplaces.

However, I would remind him that it was his own Republican party members in the Senate who killed the bill that would have provided those necessary workplace protections. Hopefully, his commitment to this issue is strong enough to rally his party around that legislation this session. Democrats are ready to protect pregnant workers if he can get his party in line.

In addition, we can all agree that finding long-term solutions to providing teacher salary increases is a must right now. Just look at the resourcefulness and dedication our teachers have shown during this pandemic.

Previous proposals by the Senate Democrats provide some of the solutions to these issues. For years, we have offered both immediate and long-term teacher pay legislation.

I will once again be offering my own teacher pay bill that will provide for sustainable pay increases for many years to come. My teacher pay plan checks off lots of the boxes that the governor’s own compensation commission suggested.

Once the state budget bill makes its way to the Senate, I will offer my comprehensive teacher pay package. We have the money, and we have the mechanisms to provide competitive wages for educators.”

Sen. Karen Tallian, (D) Olden Dunes, Ind.

“We are undoubtedly heading into one of our most important legislative sessions. All across the state, Hoosier families struggle to make ends meet during this difficult time. Yet, when you look at the governor’s priorities for 2021, there seems to be a glaring lack of solutions for the Hoosiers who are most in need.

We are on the verge of an eviction crisis, yet there was no mention in the governor’s address about protecting Hoosiers who are at risk of losing their homes during this pandemic. There was no mention of providing Hoosiers with assistance to pay for their utilities as we head into winter. At the moment, our state still boasts $300M in coronavirus relief funds, and I urge the governor to make it a focus to have those funds directed to the residents in need of housing and utility assistance.

The governor’s failure to clearly commit to raising teacher pay this year was also a cause for concern. Simply reading the recommendations from the teacher compensation report will not suffice as a solution. Let’s be clear: we cannot afford to kick the can down the road a moment longer. We need to deliver for our Hoosier teachers, who have extended themselves even more than usual this year as we dealt with this virus. I strongly encourage the governor to urge his Republican caucus to make teacher pay raises a nonnegotiable priority this year.

It was also incredibly disappointing to see no mention of racial justice or police reform in the governor’s agenda. This year, we saw people all across the globe stand in solidarity with urban communities in the fight for racial justice and equality. It’s essential that our state makes progress in this area; requiring body cameras, and only for state police, is not nearly enough.

The fact that police reform is not a top priority for the governor, following the events of this summer and after several meetings with the IBLC, is deeply worrisome. I hope the governor renews his promise to create a plan to address these glaring issues in our criminal justice system. Our state government cannot put this on the backburner, and I hope the governor will show support for the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus’s agenda this year– which was created after speaking with thousands of Hoosiers across the state.

As always, Senate Democrats stand ready to work with the governor and our colleagues across the aisle to ensure every voice is heard in the legislative process and that we address the big issues impacting everyday families.”

Sen. Eddie Melton, (D) Gary, Ind.

“I am extremely disappointed in Governor Holcomb’s failure to address the racial justice issues and disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on Black and Brown communities in our state. He spoke for 15 minutes on completing highways and improving our manufacturing capacity, but didn’t take the time to address his new Chief Equity, Inclusion, and Opportunity Officer by name.

Additionally, it is unreasonable to suggest that a new Cabinet position, regardless of who is appointed, will be able to adequately address and resolve the abundance of racial disparities occurring in our state without significant support. The IBLC certainly plans to collaborate with Ms. Herring where we can, but the Governor must also make that commitment.

While we join Governor Holcomb in celebrating the arrival of the first COVID-19 vaccines, we cannot help but wonder how many Black and Brown lives could have been saved if the Governor had heeded our recommendations and seriously tackled the racial disparity amongst cases. The release of the Indiana Health Disparities Task Force’s findings laid it out for all Hoosiers to see, but very little change has come from it. The rare mention of minorities in the Governor’s agenda refers to additional data collection, but no specific action. What use is all this data if we aren’t going to do anything with it?

“In one of the IBLC’s many efforts to resolve the glaring racial justice issues in our state, I will co-author a game-changing, bipartisan bill regarding the hiring and training process for law enforcement officers. This bill has the potential to change the course of the relationship between law enforcement and minority communities, but will fail without the Governor’s support. I urge Governor Holcomb to speak up and keep justice reform alive for the sake of all Hoosiers.”

Rep. Robin Shackleford, (D) Indianapolis, Chair of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus.

“While there are a number of priorities House Democrats can agree with in Governor Holcomb’s Next Level Agenda, I’m disappointed to see that he has failed to propose a better plan for the financial recovery of struggling Hoosiers amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” GiaQuinta said. “We’re quickly approaching the holidays as well as the end of the national eviction moratorium. I understand the importance of Indiana’s ability to maintain a stable economy throughout this pandemic, but it would be irresponsible to continue neglecting Hoosiers who have been unable to work due to illness or have lost jobs because they needed to stay home with their children. This is not the time to drop the ball when it comes to providing financial security to all Hoosiers.

Not only that, but it also doesn’t look like he has any plans to address the racial justice issues underscored by the events of this year or the disproportionate effects COVID-19 has had on minority populations. The appointment of a new chief equity, inclusion and opportunity officer barely scratches the surface of what needs to be done to improve the lives of people of color in Indiana.

That being said, I’m pleased to see that Holcomb has confirmed his commitment to provide 100 percent funding for K-12 schools. House Democrats have always fought for an increase in teacher compensation and public school funding and it’s a relief that the governor is in agreement.

I was also thrilled to see that Holcomb has established his support for providing stronger pregnancy accommodations for Hoosier women. Last year, my colleague, Rep. Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis), authored a bill that would have prohibited an employer from discriminating against an employee who has a condition related to childbirth or pregnancy. I am hopeful that we will see legislation like this pass in the 2021 Session.

It’s difficult to take stock in Governor Holcomb’s promise to gain control of the COVID-19 pandemic when he’s failed to install legitimate protections for our families throughout 2020. More than 7,000 Hoosiers have passed away from this virus, and even Holcomb himself admitted the state was ‘on fire’ — but he still chose to put his politics before the facts on the ground.

Democrats in the Statehouse will work tirelessly to ensure Indiana can come out of this pandemic stronger than before, but that effort begins when all parties are honest about the reality of our situation.”

Phil GiaQuinta, (D) Fort Wayne, Ind.

“We face an important and challenging session ahead, and I look forward to working with Governor Holcomb and our Senate colleagues to accomplish our shared legislative priorities while continuing to manage through the pandemic. We’ll be focused on a number of common objectives, including passing a fiscally responsible budget and business liability protections, in addition to supporting our students and educators, and improving our infrastructure. We look forward to having a safe and productive session.” 

Todd Huston, (R) Indiana House Speaker

Coronavirus links

Indiana coronavirus timeline

With information from the Indiana Department of Health through March 4, 2021, this timeline reflects updated tallies of deaths and positive tests prior to that date.

  • March 6, 2020: Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) confirms the first case in Indiana. Officials say the Marion County resident had recently traveled to Boston to attend a BioGen conference as a contractor.
  • March 8: ISDH confirms a second case. A Hendricks County adult who had also traveled to the BioGen conference was placed in isolation. Noblesville Schools says a parent and that parent’s children will self-quarantine after attending an out-of-state event where someone tested positive.
  • March 9: Avon Community School Corp. says a student on March 8 tested positive.
  • March 10: ISDH launches an online tracker. Ball State University basketball fans learn the Mid-American Conference tourney will have no fans in the stands. Three businesses operating nursing homes in Indiana announce they will no longer allow visitors.
  • March 11: The Indianapolis-based NCAA announces the Final Four basketball tournaments will happen with essential staff and limited family attendance. The Big Ten announces all sports events, including the men’s basketball tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, will have no fans starting March 12. Ball State University suspends in-person classes the rest of the spring semester. NBA suspends all games, including the Indiana Pacers, until further notice. Butler University and the University of Indianapolis extend spring break, after which they will have virtual classes.
  • March 12: Gov. Eric Holcomb announces new protections that led to extended public school closings and the cancellation of large events across the state. The NCAA cancels its basketball tournaments. The Big Ten suspends all sporting events through the winter and spring seasons. The league including the Indy Fuel hockey team suspends its season. Indy Eleven says it will reschedule four matches. Indianapolis’ annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade is canceled. 
  • March 13: The Indiana High School Athletic Association postpones the boys basketball tournament. Wayzata Home Products, a Connersville cabinet maker, shuts down and lays off its entire workforce due to market uncertainty. Holcomb announces actions including the elimination of Medicaid co-pays for COVID-19 testing and the lifting of limits on the number of work hours per day for drivers of commercial vehicles. Franklin College says it will begin online classes March 18 and empty residence halls of students in two days. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis closes indefinitely. The Indianapolis Public Library joins other libraries across Indiana and closes all facilities indefinitely.
  • March 14: The Indiana Gaming Commission says all licensed gaming and racing operations will close in two days for an indefinite period.
  • March 15: Indiana had its first death. St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis announces it will suspend all elective, non-urgent surgeries.
  • March 16: Indiana had its second death. Gov. Holcomb announced the first Hoosier death. He closes bars, restaurants and nightclubs to in-person patrons, but maintains carryout and delivery services.
  • March 17: Indiana had its third and fourth deaths. ISDH announces Indiana’s second death. Gov. Holcomb activates the National Guard. Purdue, Butler and Indiana State universities cancel May commencement ceremonies.
  • March 18: Indiana had its fifth death. Eli Lilly and Co. says it will use its labs to speed up testing in Indiana. The 500 Festival suspends all events. Simon Property Group closes all malls and retail properties.
  • March 19: Holcomb extends Indiana’s state of emergency into May. Holcomb says he’ll close all K-12 public and nonpublic schools; standardized testing was canceled. The state’s income-tax and corporate-tax payment deadline was extended to July 15. Holcomb says the state will waive job search requirements for people applying for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. Indiana’s high school boys basketball tournament was canceled.
  • March 20: Indiana’s death toll rose to 9. ISDH announces Indiana’s third death. Holcomb moves the state’s primary election to June 2. Indiana University says it is postponing May commencement ceremonies on all campuses.
  • March 21: Indiana’s death toll rises to 14. ISDH announces Indiana’s fourth death. Indiana National Guard says it and the state Department of Transportation are distributing medical supplies to hospitals.
  • March 22: Indiana’s death toll rises to 18. ISDH announces seven deaths.
  • March 23: Indiana’s death toll rises to 23. Holcomb orders nonessential Hoosiers to “stay at home” from March 24-April 7. Eli Lilly & Co. begins drive-thru testing for the coronavirus for health care workers with a doctor’s order. Ball State University cancels the May commencement.
  • March 24: Indiana’s death toll rises to 28. Fred Payne of Indiana Workforce Development says any Hoosiers out of work, including temporary layoffs, are eligible to apply for unemployment benefits.
  • March 25: Indiana’s death toll rises to 33. Indianapolis Motor Speedway announces the Indianapolis 500 is moved to Aug. 23.
  • March 26: Indiana’s death toll rises to 42.
  • March 27: Indiana’s death toll rises to 45.
  • March 28: Indiana’s death toll rises to 58.
  • March 29: Indiana’s death toll rises to 77.
  • March 30: Indiana’s death toll rises to 91.
  • March 31: Indiana’s death toll rises above 100, to 113. Holcomb extends the limits of bars and restaurants to offer only “to go” and “carryout” through April 6.
  • April 1: Officials extend Marion County’s “stay at home” order through May 1. Marion County health officials say they will start COVID-19 testing services for front-line employees.
  • April 2: The state announces K-12 schools will be closed for the rest of the school year. Indiana High School Athletic Association cancels spring sports seasons.
  • April 3: Holcomb extends the “stay at home” order through April 20. The Indiana National Guard says it, the Army Corps of Engineers and state health officials will begin to assess sites for alternate health care facilities.
  • April 6: The state reports a Madison County nursing home has had 11 deaths. Holcomb extends the “stay at home” order through April 20. He also limits additional businesses to carry-out only.
  • April 7: Indiana health commissioner Box says four long-term care facilities have 22 deaths that appear to be related to COVID-19.
  • April 10: ISDH said 24 residents of a long-term care facility in Madison County have died from COVID-related illness.
  • April 14: Indiana’s death toll rises above 500.
  • April 16: Indiana records more than 10,000 positive coronavirus tests. The governor says he expects Indiana to experience a reopening in early May.
  • April 20: Holcomb extends the “stay at home” order to May 1. The governor also says if the medical supply chain is in good shape, other elective medical procedures can resume April 27.
  • April 22: The Tyson facility in Logansport voluntarily closes so 2,200 employees can be tested for COVID-19.
  • April 24: The Indianapolis City-County Council approves $25 million to help small businesses. Fishers City Council creates a city health department.
  • April 25: ISDH says it will launch an antibody testing study for Hoosiers; thousands of residents were randomly selected to participate in the study.
  • April 27: Indiana’s death toll rises above 1,000.
  • April 28: Indiana officials say they will open COVID-19 testing to more Hoosiers, with expanded criteria and new testing services at 20 sites around the state.
  • April 29: The state says it will spent $43 million on contact tracing.
  • April 30: Indianapolis extends its stay-at-home order through May 15.
  • May 1: Gov. Holcomb announces a phased reopening plan for the state of Indiana. He also extends the “stay at home” order to May 4.
  • May 3: Indiana records more than 20,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • May 4: Indiana enters Stage 2 of its Back on Track plan, which excludes Cass County until May 18, and Lake and Marion counties until May 11.
  • May 6:The state begins testing for all Hoosiers at 20 sites, with plans to expand the number of sites to 50 in a week. Ivy Tech Community College says it will continue virtual classes when summer courses begin in June. 
  • May 8: Cris Johnston, director of the Office of Budget and Management, says the state missed out on nearly $1 billion in anticipated April revenues; all state agencies will be given budget-cutting goals. Purdue University OKs plans to reopen for the fall semester with social distancing and other safety measures.
  • May 13: The first phase of a state-sponsored study of the coronavirus estimated about 186,000 Hoosiers had COVID-19 or the antibodies for the novel virus by May 1. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced plans for limited reopenings of worship services, retail establishments, libraries and restaurants.
  • May 15: Simon Property Group reopens Castleton Square Mall, Circle Centre Mall, and Fashion Mall at Keystone
  • May 18: Indiana reports its first case of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in a child. The Farbest Foods turkey-processing plant in Huntingburg is closed for three days; 91 people had tested positive there.
  • May 21: Indiana records more than 30,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • May 22: Indiana advances to Stage 3 of the Back on Track reopening plan. Indianapolis closes portions of five streets to allow restaurants to reopen with outdoor dining only.
  • May 26: Indiana’s death toll rises above 2,000.
  • May 27: Indiana University says the fall semester will have in-person and online courses, plus an adjusted calendar through May 2021. Ball State University says the fall semester will be 13 straight weeks of in-person classes with no day off on Labor Day and no fall break.
  • May 29: Places of worship in Marion County can begin holding indoor services at 50% capacity with proper social distancing. Jim Schellinger, Indiana secretary of commerce, said the federal Paycheck Protection Program has made 73,430 loans in Indiana totaling $9,379,164,461, the federal Economic Injury Disaster Loan program has made 5,070 loans in Indiana totaling $445,428,500, and the federal Economic Injury Disaster Loans Advance program has made 38,365 grants in Indiana totaling $136,554,000.
  • June 1: Marion County restaurants begins serving customers indoors and outdoors with 50% capacity. Marion County salons, tattoo parlors reopen by appointment only. Marion County gyms, fitness centers and pools reopen with 50% capacity and no contact sports. However, a Marion County curfew that began the night of May 31 and continued into the morning of June 3 after rioting impacted the reopening of some businesses.
  • June 3: Phase 2 of statewide testing of random Hoosiers by the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI and the Indiana State Department of Health begins.
  • June 5: Indiana reports May tax revenues were 20% short of projections made before the coronavirus closings started.
  • June 8: Indianapolis leaders agree to spend $79 million in coronavirus relief funding on contact tracing, rent relief, personal protective equipment and support for small businesses.
  • June 12: Indiana, excluding Marion County, advances to Stage 4 of reopening plan.
  • June 15: Casinos and parimutuel racing reopen in the state. Marion County’s public libraries begin a phased reopening. Indiana records more than 40,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • June 19: Marion County advances to Stage 4 of state’s reopening plan.
  • June 24: Holcomb says the state’s moratorium on the eviction on renters will be extended through July. Indiana announces it will create a rental assistance program July 13. Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon says he has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • June 27: Indiana hospitalizations for COVID-19 begin to increase, with about 33 new patients a day through July 1.
  • July 1: The governor pauses Stage 5 final reopening plan, announces Stage 4.5 from July 4-17.
  • July 4: Indiana’s Stage 4.5 reopening plan begins.
  • July 9: Indiana records more than 50,000 positive coronavirus tests. Marion County mandates mask-wearing.
  • July 10: Indianapolis Public Schools announces its reopening plans.
  • July 11: Indy Eleven resumes 2020 season with victory at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis reopens.
  • July 13: Indiana begins rental assistance program for all counties but Marion County. Marion County begins its own rental assistance program.
  • July 15: Indiana announces the Stage 4.5 reopening plan will continue another two weeks. The WNBA season begins.
  • July 16: Indianapolis suspends applications for its rental assistance program due to overwhelming demand.
  • July 24: Bars, taverns and nightclubs in Indianapolis are shut down again. City officials also return to other previous restrictions.
  • July 25: Indiana Fever begins WNBA season after delays.
  • July 27: Indiana governor’s order to wear face coverings begins. Great Lakes Valley Conference, which including University of Indianapolis, postpones most fall sports, including football, men’s and women’s soccer, and volleyball, until spring.
  • July 30: NBA season resumes.
  • Aug. 4: Indianapolis Motor Speedway announces the Aug. 23 Indianapolis 500 will be run without fans.
  • Aug. 9: Indiana records more than 75,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Aug. 11: Indiana’s death toll rises above 3,000.
  • Aug. 17: Indianapolis Public Schools restarts with online-only classes. News 8 learns the 2021 NBA All-Star Game will not happen on Presidents Day weekend in 2021.
  • Aug. 20: Purdue University suspends 36 students after a party at a cooperative house.
  • Aug. 21: Indiana high school football season begins with some teams not playing due to COVID-19 concerns.
  • Aug. 23: Butler University tells undergraduates that instruction will occur remotely for the first two weeks of the semester, starting Aug. 24, instead of in classrooms.
  • Aug. 24: Purdue, Indiana, IUPUI and Ball State universities resume in-person classes.
  • Aug. 25: Reports say a fraternity, a sorority and a cooperative house at Purdue University are under quarantines.
  • Aug. 26: Gov. Holcomb extends the mask mandate through Sept. 25. Indiana’s rental assistance program will take applications for one last day.
  • Aug. 27: Indiana University says eight Greek houses are under 14-day quarantines.
  • Sept. 2: Indiana University tells 30 Greek houses in Bloomington to quarantine.
  • Sept. 6: Indiana records more than 100,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Sept. 8: Marion County allows bars and nightclubs to reopen with 25% capacity indoors and 50% capacity outdoors.
  • Sept. 12: The Indianapolis Colts open their season with a loss in a Jacksonville stadium with a limited number of fans.
  • Sept. 21: The Indianapolis Colts home opener is limited to 2,500 fans.
  • Sept. 23: Gov. Eric Holcomb extends the mask mandate through Oct. 17.
  • Sept. 24: The state’s mask mandate is extended through Oct. 17.
  • Sept. 25: The Mid-American Conference announces it will start a six-game football season Nov. 4, with the championship game Dec. 18 or 19.
  • Sept. 26: Indiana advances to a revised Stage 5 of Indiana Back on Track plan with relaxed limits on gatherings, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and more. Marion, Monroe and Tippecanoe counties decided to have more restrictive limits, however.
  • Sept. 27: The Indianapolis Colts second home game is limited to 7,500 fans.
  • Sept. 28: Purdue University says it’s suspended 14 students, including 13 student-athletes, for violations of a pledge designed to curb the coronavirus pandemic on campus.
  • Sept. 30: The Indiana State Department of Health’s online coronavirus dashboard began showing data on positive coronavirus cases in Indiana schools.
  • Oct. 1: IU’s website shows two additional fraternities and a sorority at the Bloomington campus have been issued “cease and desist” orders.
  • Oct. 2: Franklin College suspends classes and moves to virtual education and activities through Oct. 9 after a “concerning and unusual” increase in the positivity rate for COVID-19.
  • Oct. 12: Franklin College returns to in-person classes.
  • Oct. 13: Indianapolis-based drugmaker Lilly pauses its trial of a combination antibody treatment for coronavirus for safety reasons.
  • Oct. 14: Indiana health commissioner Dr. Kristina Box announces she has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Oct. 15: Gov. Holcomb issues executive order to extend mask mandate and Stage 5 reopening plan.
  • Oct. 16: Indiana’s death toll rises above 4,000.
  • Oct. 18: The Indianapolis Colts third home game was limited to 12,500 fans.
  • Oct. 23: The Big Ten begins its football season.
  • Oct. 30: Gov. Holcomb extends the public health emergency through Dec. 1.
  • Nov. 1: Indiana National Guard to begin deploying to long-term care facilities to provide coronavirus assistance. The Mid-American Conference football teams begins its six-game regular season.
  • Nov. 5: Indiana records more than 200,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Nov. 8: The Indianapolis Colts fourth home game was limited to 12,500 fans. .
  • Nov. 10: Indiana’s death toll rises to 5,000.
  • Nov. 12: Indianapolis calls for schools to go to virtual learning by Nov. 30.
  • Nov. 15: Indiana adds coronavirus-control restrictions for all businesses and gatherings in counties with the highest number of new cases as part of an update to the statewide COVID-19 pandemic response.
  • Nov. 16: Indianapolis limits capacity inside bars, private clubs, fraternal organizations and gyms to 25%; inside restaurants, libraries, funeral homes, swimming pools and shopping malls’ food courts to 50%; and inside religious services to 75%. Marion County Health Department requires preregistration for COVID-19 testing after increased demand at three drive-thru locations.
  • Nov. 22: Indiana records more than 300,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Nov. 23: Indianapolis Public Schools returns to virtual learning through Jan. 18.
  • Nov. 24: The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball seasons begin; some games had no fans in the stands.
  • Nov. 25: Indiana’s death toll rises above 6,000.
  • Nov. 26: Butler University men’s basketball cancels Nov. 29 game against Eastern Illinois after a positive COVID-19 test.
  • Nov. 28: Butler University men’s basketball team postponed two more games because of a positive COVID-19 test.
  • Dec. 1: Bankers Life Fieldhouse hosts its first NCAA men’s basketball game, Kansas vs. Kentucky, since the start of the pandemic.
  • Dec. 2: Indianapolis ends its rental assistance program.
  • Dec. 5: The men’s basketball game of No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 2, Baylor at Bankers Life Fieldhouse is postponed 90 minutes before tipoff after two Bulldogs test positive.
  • Dec. 6: Indiana’s death toll rises above 7,000.
  • Dec. 9: Indiana records more than 404,000 positive coronavirus tests. Holcomb says virus restrictions will now by county based on ratings that show the local virus spread. Indiana and Purdue universities cancel the Old Oaken Bucket football game set for Dec. 12.
  • Dec. 10: Indiana House Speaker Todd Huston says he tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Dec. 11: The Pacers lose to the Cavaliers as the NBA preseason begins. The Carmel Walmart in Westfield closes for nearly two days to sanitize the store.
  • Dec. 12: Ball State University President Geoffrey Mearns tests positive for the coronavirus.
  • Dec. 14: Health care workers receive the first coronavirus vaccinations in Indiana.
  • Dec. 15: Vice President Mike Pence holds a roundtable in Bloomington at pharmaceutical maker Catalent on the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Indiana and Purdue again cancel the Old Oaken Bucket football game that’d been reset for Dec. 18.
  • Dec. 16: Indiana’s death toll rises above 8,000.
  • Dec. 20: The Indianapolis Colts allows up to 10,000 attendees at Lucas Oil Stadium for the team’s game against the Houston Texans.
  • Dec. 22: NBA starts league’s 75th season, delayed and shortened to a 72-game schedule because of the pandemic.
  • Dec. 23: In response to the high volume of unemployment claims, Holcomb extends the suspension of certain requirements to expedite the hiring and training of temporary workers to more quickly resolve unemployment issues. Indiana Pacers to host first home game against New York Knicks with no fans present.
  • Dec. 27: Indiana’s death toll rises above 9,000.
  • Dec. 29: Indiana records more than 500,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Dec. 31: Indiana’s death toll for 2020 is 9,459 (as recorded through March 4, 2021).
  • Jan. 1, 2021: Indiana’s death toll rises above 9,500.
  • Jan. 3: The Indianapolis Colts allow 10,000 attendees at Lucas Oil Stadium for the team’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
  • Jan. 4: Grades 1-12 schools in Marion County are allowed reopen to in-person learning. Perry Township Schools is the only district to reopen to in-person learning.
  • Jan. 5: Purdue and Nebraska postpone a men’s basketball game over health and safety concerns.
  • Jan. 7: Indiana’s death toll rises above 10,000.
  • Jan. 8: Hoosiers 80 and older start receiving the coronavirus vaccine.
  • Jan. 13: Hoosiers 70 and older can get the coronavirus vaccine.
  • Jan. 18: NFL announces the scouting combine will not happen in Indianapolis in February.
  • Jan. 20: Indiana records more than 601,000 positive coronavirus tests. Indiana Pacers host up to 1,000 at a game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the first fans since the pandemic began.
  • Jan. 21: Indiana’s death toll rises above 11,000.
  • Feb. 1: Hoosiers 65 and older can get the coronavirus vaccine. The Indianapolis St. Patrick’s Day parade is canceled for the second year in a row.
  • Feb. 4: More than 1,500 coronavirus deaths were added to the Indiana State Department of Health’s dashboard after an audit found they were not recorded. News 8 learns all games for the Big Ten men’s basketball tourney will move from Chicago to Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium.
  • Feb. 7: Indiana to change school protocols for classroom quarantine and contact tracing.
  • Feb. 14: Indiana’s death toll rises above 12,000. Indiana records more than 650,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Feb. 17: Indiana officials announced plans for a $448 million program to give housing assistance to Hoosiers.
  • Feb. 19: The NCAA says up to 25% capacity will be allowed for all rounds of the men’s basketball tourney including the Final Four. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announces the May 30 Indianapolis 500 will have fans.
  • Feb. 19: Indiana’s death toll rises above 12,100.
  • Feb. 23: Hoosiers 60 and older can get the coronavirus vaccine.
  • Feb. 25: Indiana records more than 660,000 positive coronavirus tests. Capacity limits at bars, restaurants, gyms, and music venues in Marion County were adjusted after a consistent trend in the community’s COVID-19 positivity rate.
  • Feb. 25: Indiana’s death toll rises to 12,200.
  • Feb. 28: Indiana National Guardsmen to end assistance to long-term care facilities.
  • March 1: The 500 Festival Mini-Marathon says it will be virtual for the second year in a row.
  • March 2: Hoosiers 55 and older start receiving the coronavirus vaccine.
  • March 3: Hoosiers 50 and older start receiving the coronavirus vaccine.
  • March 4: News 8 learns up 8,000 fans will be allowed in Lucas Oil Stadium for Big Ten men’s basketball tournament games. Indiana records more than 665,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • March 5: A three-day, drive-thru, mass-vaccination clinic opens at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for 16,800 Hoosiers.
  • March 12: A two-day, drive-thru, mass-vaccination clinic was set for Ivy Tech Community College in Sellersburg.
  • March 18: NCAA men’s March Madness games, all of them at venues in Indiana, to start with First Four games in Bloomington and West Lafayette.
  • March 26: A two-day, drive-thru, mass-vaccination clinic was set for Compton Family Ice Arena at the University of Notre Dame.
  • March 31: Holcomb’s emergency declaration with county-based restrictions and a mask mandate set to end at 11:59 p.m.
  • May 4: Indianapolis Indians set to begin delayed season with away game against Iowa Cubs.