The Bloomingtonian

Press release: Board Updates Public Health Regulations

Changes to public health regulations went into effect at noon November 17, 2020. The following information was sent to The Bloomingtonian by the Monroe County Health Department:

BLOOMINGTON:  Because of continuing local and national Covid-19 transmission, the Monroe County Board of Health updated its’ July Public Health Regulation on Friday, November 13, 2020.  The changes went into effect at noon today https://www.co.monroe.in.us/egov/documents/1605633556_42846.pdf .

In addition to the updates, the Health Board said the County will follow the Governor’s Executive Order 20-48 https://www.in.gov/gov/governor-holcomb/newsroom/executive-orders/ but with added restrictions under each color level.  The Executive Order issued targeted prevention steps based on Covid community spread levels as shown by a color-coded map https://www.coronavirus.in.gov/

Monroe County is currently labeled as yellow on the map, but Monroe County Health Department Administrator, Penny Caudill, expects the county will change to orange tomorrow. The Indiana Department of Health updates the map each week on Wednesday.

 “Given our increasing positivity rate and daily cases, I expect we will be orange on this week’s metrics map. It is a stark reminder that the virus is spreading in the community and we must resolve to do better, to take actions, and to do our part in reducing the spread of the virus in our community. We can slow the spread, there is some power in prevention and mitigation.” says Caudill.

In addition to the measures and restrictions outlined in the color code metric in the Executive Order 20-48, Monroe County has added the following:

Blue (Low Community Spread)

  • Residential gathering size limit is 50 people. Gathering size limits for larger events are 100 inside and 150 outside.

Yellow (Moderate Community Spread) 

  • Social gatherings size limits in Monroe County are restricted to 50 and event size limits are 100.   People wishing to have an event larger than this must complete an exemption request form available at www.co.monroe.in.us
  • No self-serve or buffet-style food service in restaurants
  • Restaurant staff may serve patrons in a cafeteria-style fashion

Orange (Higher Community Spread)

  • Social and event gathering sizes are limited to 25
    • The Health Department will not be allowing exemptions to gatherings (personal or commercial) when in orange except for rare extenuating circumstances of need. These must still meet prevention measures for safety.
  • No self-serve or buffet-style food service in restaurants
  • Bars/Restaurants: prefer carry out as much as possible.
    • Early closure of 1:00 AM

Red (Very High Positivity and Community Spread) –

  • Further restrictions to be determined

Other updates concerning bars and restaurants included the following guidelines:

  • Bars and restaurants must have and require table-top seating for all patrons and must require patrons to remain seated and masked unless those patrons are actively eating or drinking. This means patrons must wear masks when ordering and when staff are serving patrons, in order to keep staff and patrons as safe as possible.
  • No standing, congregating or dancing allowed inside the establishment boundaries or the parameters.
  • Restaurants are encouraged to use outdoor seating where possible.
  • Party size must be limited to 10 people or fewer at each table. Back-to-back seating with Plexiglas barriers will not replace the necessity of the 6-foot social distancing rule.
  • Restaurants with bars may operate bar-top ordering service from a single location at each bar within the restaurant. Ordering must take place in one designated area, rather than across the entire bar.
  • Clear floor-markings must be put in place to indicate where the single bar-top ordering line may begin. Six foot markings must be placed on the floor and the line must be formed in such a manner as to keep the patrons safely six-feet or more distanced from other seated guests. Groups of seated patrons and those patrons standing in line for bar service must be spaced at least 6 feet apart.
  • Air ventilation should be increased to maximum capacity, or at least 6 air changes per hour. It is recommended that filters be replaced with those designated to address Covid-19 issues.
  • It is recommended that patrons not wait indoors in establishments for an available table but that a reservation system be utilized, which calls patrons upon the availability of their table.

The Health Board also provided clarification that exercises must be aerobic in nature in order to be exempt from face covering requirements as well as social gathering and events within city limits are monitored and enforced by the City of Bloomington. 

Violations of the Public Health Regulation can be enforced by law enforcement or any agents authorized by the Monroe County Board of Health, Health Department or the County Commissioners. -END-


PUBLIC HEALTH REGULATION, UPDATED TO TAKE EFFECT ON 11-17-2020 at 12:00 p.m./Noon PURSUANT TO STATE AND LOCAL LAW, INCLUDING INDIANA CODE § 16-20-1 et seq. 

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the continuing transmission statewide and nationwide, Monroe County’s dynamic population, and to ensure that physical distancing and preventive measures vital to the mitigation of the pandemic remain in place, the Monroe County Board of Health, in cooperation and collaboration with Health Officer Dr. Thomas W. Sharp and the Monroe County Health Department, hereby UPDATES its orders as follows, effective Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at 12:00 p.m./Noon:

  1. Monroe County shall follow the State of Indiana’s Guidelines by Color, which can be found here: https://www.coronavirus.in.gov/. The Board of Health, however, specifically requires that there shall be no self-service, buffet-style food service in restaurants when Monroe County is in yellow, orange, or red states. Staff may serve patrons in a cafeteria-style fashion when in yellow. To the extent required by law, the

Board grants to the Monroe County Health Administrator and the Health Officer Thomas W. Sharp, the ability to adjust restrictions – in any particular area – as required, in order to protect the public health.  

  • Unless an exception as stated in Paragraph 3, below, applies, ALL individuals must wear a face shield, face covering, or mask (collectively referred to, hereinafter, as “face covering”) over their nose and mouth when in an indoor place other than their own home or the home of an immediate family member, or when outdoors in a situation where adequate physical distancing of at least 6 feet is not possible (including outdoor public gatherings). While a face shield is made of a harder, plastic-like material, an acceptable face covering or mask under this Order means a covering made of cloth, fabric, or other soft or permeable material that completely covers the nose and mouth and surrounding areas of the lower face. . Persons unable to pay for a face covering should contact the Monroe County Health Department, the

Office of Emergency Management, or the Office of the Monroe County

Commissioners and one will be supplied at no cost. This face covering requirement generally applies in all situations below, unless specifically and explicitly exempted below. 

  • This requirement does not apply to the following exceptions provided they are factually and legitimately applicable to an individual:
    • Children who are two years of age or younger.
    • Individuals who are hearing or speaking impaired and for whom a face covering is an obstacle to communication.
    • Individuals who are unable to wear a face covering for a documentedphysical, medical, or health-related reason.
    • Individuals in a hospital, doctor’s office, dentist’s office, or other health care facility, in circumstances where wearing a face covering would be an impediment to receiving proper care, as designated by the healthcare provider.
    • Individuals who are alone in an indoor space, such as in an office, or in a work-space and are physically distanced from all other co-workers. When unable to physically distance from others, a face covering is required.
    • Individuals who are traveling in personal vehicles.
    • Individuals for whom wearing a face covering would present a risk to their safety while at work, as determined by local, state, or federal workplace safety regulations.
    • Individuals who are incarcerated.
    • Individuals who are engaged in a form of indoor, aerobic exercise that is incompatible with wearing a face covering, including swimming.
    • Individuals who are seated at a restaurant, bar, or other establishment that serves food and/or drink.  However, individuals entering and exiting restaurants or bars, or congregating in waiting areas or common areas of restaurants or bars (including bathrooms), must wear face coverings.
    • Individuals who are engaged in outdoor physical exercise, including running, jogging, walking, bicycling, or swimming, if in groups of less than 25.
    • Bona fide emergency situations in which a person lacks the time or the means to put on a face covering before entering an indoor or outdoor public space. Individuals who are outdoors and are maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from others who are not part of their household.
  • All businesses and public accommodations which are open to the public must ensure that all customers and/or visitors are complying with the face covering and physical-distancing requirements of Paragraph 2 above.  Businesses or public accommodations that fail to enforce compliance with face covering and physical-distancing requirements in Paragraph 2 are subject to enforcement action, up to and including closure.
  • When individuals must interact with one another outside their own home, including at work, and at essential and non-essential businesses, they should observe the following precautions:
    • Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from other individuals who are not part of their own household;
    • Wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible, or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not available;
    • Cover all coughs and sneezes with a tissue that can then be disposed;
    • Disinfect frequently used surfaces;
    • Avoid sharing food, drinks, and utensils;
    • Refrain from sharing office supplies and equipment (such as pens, staplers, and computer keyboards);
    • Frequently clean communal office equipment (such as printers and copiers);
    • Increase ventilation of indoor spaces, by opening windows or adjusting air conditioning, as much as possible;
    • Hold all necessary meetings by telephone or videoconference whenever possible; and
    • Refrain from shaking hands or engaging in other physical contact with the hands or face of another person.
  • For academic and extra-curricular activities, all K-12 schools in Monroe County should follow the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Indiana Department of Education (IDOE), and the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), even if the requirements differ from those contained herein. Nothing, however, precludes schools from adopting rules or regulations consistent with these requirements. Childcare, pre-school, and pre-K programs should follow the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
  • The following businesses shall follow any and all Orders issued by the Governor of Indiana and shall also follow the requirements in Paragraph 2. The requirements in Paragraph 2 apply, despite the fact that they are more restrictive than requirements established by the Governor’s Orders:
    • Shopping malls and other retail stores, including liquor stores and convenience stores;
    • Restaurants, bars, nightclubs (see also requirements in Paragraph 9);
    • Personal services businesses, such as salons, barber shops, nail salons, spas, massage businesses, and tattoo parlors, except for those who are receiving a service where a mask is incompatible with the service and only while receiving the service;
    • All religious services, indoors and outdoors, except for those who are formally presenting and are physically distanced from others (no face-covering required for those presenters);
    • Campgrounds and youth summer day camps;
    • Community swimming pools;
    • Gyms, fitness centers, yoga & dance studios, and martial arts studios;
    • Golf course facilities and golf club houses;
    • Sports venues and raceway events;
    • Cultural, entertainment, and tourism sites, including zoos, museums, and parks; and
    • Conventions & conferences.
  • Gathering sizes ENFORCED BY MONROE COUNTY, applicable to all non-

commercial events, including private gatherings or those held at a personal residence (including fraternities and sororities located in the City of Bloomington and on or off the Indiana University campus), shall be no more than fifty (50) people. Any person or organization may apply to the Monroe County Health Department for an exemption from the gathering size limit.  The application for the exemption is attached to this Regulation as Exhibit A.  The Health Department will only approve an exemption if the applicant demonstrates that the gathering allows for appropriate physical distancing and use of face coverings. Face covering and physical distancing requirements in Paragraph 2 apply to these gatherings. Please note that the City of Bloomington has put in place a fifteen (15) person gathering size limit, subject to City enforcement.

  • Gathering sizes, ENFORCED BY MONROE COUNTY, applicable to all commercial gatherings or those held at venues that are, in the normal course of business, offered to the general public for rent or use, shall be no more than one hundred (100) people, if the gathering is held inside or one hundred fifty (150) people if the gathering is held outside. Any person or organization may apply to the Monroe County Health Department for an exemption from the gathering size limit.  The application for the exemption is attached to this Regulation as Exhibit A.  The Health Department will only approve an exemption if the applicant demonstrates that the gathering allows for appropriate physical distancing and use of face coverings. Face covering and physical distancing requirements in Paragraph 2 apply to these gatherings. Please note that

the City of Bloomington has put in place a fifteen (15) person gathering size limit, subject to City enforcement.

  1. Restaurants, bars, and entertainment/music venues must follow the following guidelines: 
    1. They must have and require table-top seating for all patrons and must require

patrons to remain seated at tables and masked unless those patrons are actively eating or drinking. This means that patrons must wear masks when ordering and when staff are serving patrons, in order to keep both staff and patrons as safe as possible.

  • Party size must be limited to ten (10) people or fewer at each table. Back-to-

back seating with plexiglass barriers will not replace the necessity of six (6) foot social distancing rule.

  • Restaurants are encouraged to use outdoor seating where possible. 
    • No standing, congregating, or dancing shall be allowed in the establishment

boundaries or parameters.

  • Restaurants with bars may operate bar-top ordering service from a single

location at each bar within the restaurant. Ordering must take place in one designated area, rather than across the entire bar. 

  • Clear floor-markings must be put in place to indicate where the single bar-top

ordering line may begin. Six (6)-foot markings must be placed on the floor, and the line must be formed in such a manner to keep patrons safely six-feet or more) distanced from other seated guests. Groups of seated patrons and those patrons standing in line for bar service must be spaced at least six (6) feet apart.

  • Air ventilation should be increased to maximum capacity, or at least six (6) air

changes per hour. It is recommended that filters be replaced with those designed to address COVID-19 issues.

  • It is recommended that patrons not wait indoors in establishments for an

available table, but that a reservation system be utilized, which calls patrons upon the availability of their table. 

  1. This Regulation applies on property owned by Ivy Tech and Indiana University, as long as adopted by their required authorities, but does not apply on other State-owned property. Ivy Tech and Indiana University have the legal authority to impose even stricter requirements than are imposed here. 
  1. Violations of this Regulation are subject to penalties as provided by the Monroe County Code, including but not limited to Chapters 305 and 115, and may be enforced by any local or state law enforcement agency or any agent authorized by the Monroe County Board of Health, Health Department, or Monroe County Board of Commissioners. Nothing in this Regulation gives individual residents the authority to intimidate or harass individuals who do not voluntarily comply or who are found out of compliance with this Regulation. 
  1. It is Monroe County’s intent to educate and gain voluntary compliance by all persons in Monroe County. Notices of Ordinance Violations, with penalties as allowed by Monroe County Code, should be issued only as a last resort and if voluntary compliance may not be achieved. A Class C Ordinance Violation is subject to a fine of up to Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) per violation, per day; however, it is recommended that an individual, per-person fine for a single violation of this Regulation be imposed in the amount of Fifty Dollars ($50.00). It is recommended that fines for group violations be levied in a higher amount. 
  1. This Regulation supplements any existing regulations and shall be in effect until rescinded. 

____________________________________________ Celinda Kay Leach, RN

            Chair of the Monroe County Health Board of Directors                      

Rate this post

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 4

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Bloomingtonian on Patreon!