CHICAGO (CBS) –– Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb on Monday issued a stay at home order for all Hoosiers, ordering residents to “hunker down’ as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise.

His order follows other neighboring states, like Illinois and Michigan, which have also ordered residents to stay at home unless they need to shop for essential needs, like food or medicine. All non essential business will be ordered to close and  employees asked to work from home. State workers will be limited to essential functions, such as police and corrections workers, effective Tuesday.  Other workers will conduct business remotely. 

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The order for state workers goes into effect on Tuesday. The stay at home order for all Hoosiers takes effect on Wednesday and will continue for two weeks, until April 7.

“We need to slow the spread and we need to do it now,” Holcomb said in a speech from the Statehouse. He said he expected the number of cases will continue to surge.

“The next two weeks are critical,” said Holcomb, who asked Hoosiers not to hoard food. Grocery stores will remain open.

On Monday, the number of cases in Indiana rose to 259, with seven deaths. The hardest hit area is around Indianapolis.  Northwest Indiana has reported 13 COVID-19 cases. 

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Essential businesses include grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, police stations, fire stations, hospitals, doctor’s offices, laundromats, daycare centers, health care facilities, garbage pickup, public transit, and public service hotlines. Religious services are canceled, but many churches are posting them online.

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Essential activities include health and safety reasons, necessary supplies and services, outdoor activity, certain types of essential work, and to take care of others. Running or walking outside is allowed, provided people stay at least six feet apart.

Last week, Holcomb canceled school until May 1. The state’s primary election has been moved from May until June 2. The state is also delaying state income tax payments from April 15 to July 15. Restaurants were ordered to only allow carryout and delivery. Those that don’t follow the order will lose their licenses. Restaurants and bars can continue to offer carryout and delivery during the order..

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