ANDERSON — The city of Anderson has declared a local emergency and Madison County has issued a directive for many businesses to close.
Both Madison County and Anderson officials have issued a “travel watch” to limit to only essential travel for work, to shop for food, supplies, medication or emergencies.
Madison County Sheriff Scott Mellinger said under the “orange” travel restriction deputies are not pulling people over to check for a violation.
“If we get called to an incident involving a vehicle we will inquire as to the reason to travel,” he said, “put that in our report, and remind them that only essential travel is approved.”
Mellinger said the department is not trying to make people’s lives inconvenient.
Anderson Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. issued a local disaster emergency executive order on Thursday that will remain in effect for seven days unless extended by a new executive order or by consent of the Anderson City Council.
Broderick said all the city’s physical facilities including the City Building, park facilities, and the City of Anderson Transit System terminal will be closed to the public.
He said the CATS businesses will continue to operate but no person who has tested positive for COVID-19 or the flu should ride the buses.
Broderick said the emergency declaration is temporary for at least 30 days.
“We’re protecting the public and our employees’ health,” he said. “We’re following the federal and state guidelines.”
The Madison County Government Center is closed to the public, except by appointment.
The building will remain open for essential personnel and business, including the courts. The public will be required to show proof of appointment, hearing or other business to be allowed into the building.
Both county and city employees will be working to answer telephone calls and email inquiries.
“The virus is impacting a younger age, per new CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) data,” Dr. Stephen Wright, the Madison County health officer, said. “As a result, Madison County needs to take necessary steps to ensure the safety of each citizen in the community.”
The Madison County Health Department has ordered the closing of all “nonessential” businesses from 8 a.m. Friday through April 6.
“We apologize, but this is beyond our control,” Dr. Troy Abbott, president of the Madison County Health Board, said. “As long as the community works with us, we will make an impact.
“We need to be proactive, not reactive,” Abbott said. “We are two to three days behind many of the procedures being implemented in Indianapolis. They are getting hit hard already in emergency departments and we need to take these steps to protect the community.”
Wright said all nonessential community events, gatherings and meetings must be postponed until April 6.
Broderick said meetings of boards and commissions are being canceled and any meetings will be shown live on Anderson TV and recorded for rebroadcast.
He said City Controller Doug Whitham will be pre-paying bills that are appropriate and then approved at a later date by the Anderson Board of Public Works and the Anderson Board of Public Safety.