Bloomington Mayor Executes Order To Accelerate COVID-Preventive Measures

(BLOOMINGTON) – Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton signed an executive order Monday that will accelerate the implementation within Bloomington city limits of several aspects of the Monroe County Public Health Order of July 17.

In light of continued concern about local signs of increasing transmission, and in “wholehearted support” of the provisions of the county. The mayor’s Executive Order 20-02 will accelerate the effective dates of certain requirements of the county order for the protection of the community. 

Specifically, Executive Order 20-02 will make effective the county order’s requirements relating to the size of gatherings at private and public events as well as in bars and restaurants on Thursday, July 23 at noon instead of Friday, July 31 at noon, when they will go into effect outside of city limits. The requirements, as stated in paragraphs 7 to 9 of the county order, are as follows: 

  • Private or non-commercial gatherings in the city must be limited to 50 people (and include physical distancing and face coverings, with exceptions).
  • Gatherings at public or commercial venues in the city must be limited to 100 people indoors, or 150 people outdoors (with similar distancing and face covering requirements).
  • Service at bars, nightclubs and restaurants is limited only to those seated at tables that shall be physically distanced from each other. Bar-top service is not permitted.  Establishments are required to 
    • space groups at least six feet apart, 
    • limit party size to ten people, 
    • increase air ventilation to maximum capacity; 

and are encouraged to use outdoor seating as much as possible. (Physical distancing and face covering requirements are also in effect in restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.)

Establishments subject to these orders will be expected to comply with these requirements after 12pm on Thursday, July 23. Enforcement may be based on random visits or complaints, and may include actions up to and including closing the establishment if it fails to demonstrate compliance. Social gatherings are expected to comply with these requirements as well. Enforcement may be based on random visits or complaints, and may include dispersal or ending of the gathering as needed. 

The county order’s provision requiring that face coverings be worn in public went into effect on July 17 at 5 p.m, across the county (including the city). Mayor Hamilton announced last Friday his intent to accelerate the additional provisions of the county order in response to the special circumstances affecting the health of the population within city limits, including the imminent influx of university students from around the country, and the absence of pre-testing requirements for students living off campus. Indiana State Code (§§ 36-8-2-4  and § 36-1-3 et seq.) permits the executive of local government units, including municipalities, to enact measures in the interest of public health or safety.  

“Our top priority has to remain protecting public health, and we’ve learned that moving with speed can make a difference. I appreciate that accelerating these new protocols may cause some hardship to some of us, but I would simply emphasize that we are battling a deadly and difficult virus. We must take the common-sense steps that minimize the risks of a dramatic resurgence here locally. We will continue to listen to health experts and follow the science to help our community weather this challenge,” said Mayor Hamilton. “I hope we won’t experience such setbacks as require more changes, but we have to be ready to take whatever steps will protect our community.” 

Executive Order 20-02 will expire when the remaining provisions of the county’s order take effect on August 1 unless the county extends the starting date for the implementation of the provisions regarding gathering size and bars and restaurants.