Howard County Government Extending Local Emergency Orders

The Howard County Board of Commissioners have extended their local emergency order through April 30, 2021.  This order continues to provide the flexibility to respond to the health, safety and welfare of Howard County residents during this pandemic.  

Also, beginning April 6, 2021, Howard County will mirror Governor Holcomb’s executive order pertaining to mask mandates and public gatherings.  

“Howard County has been at the forefront of combating this virus for the past year.  Our citizens have sacrificed much and together, through the hard work of many, we have reached a place where we can see the other side of this pandemic.” said Commissioner Wyman.  “We will be keeping the emergency order in place so that should the virus spike up or a new surge take place, we can react quickly to keep our community safe. In the meantime, we will continue our highly successful vaccination program focused on max distribution through various networks.” he added

Highlights going forward from April 6, 2021. 

  • Face covering mandate will become a state/local mask advisory, although face coverings will remain mandatory in all County buildings and facilities and in all vaccination and COVID testing sites until further notice. K-12 schools will continue under current face covering requirements through the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.
  • As always, local governments, businesses and other entities may impose more stringent guidelines, such as choosing to keep mask wearing mandatory in their facilities. So, whether that is a bank branch lobby, on the factory floor, funeral home, or a county courthouse or city hall, they retain the authority to make decisions about COVID restrictions for their operations and shall be afforded the respect, compliance and understanding of all who visit them.
  • If you test positive, isolate.
  • If you are a close contact of someone who is COVID positive, follow CDC guidelines and quarantine.
  • If you are sick or symptomatic, do not go to work or any place else for that matter, free COVID tests are available throughout the state, so get tested.
  • All decisions about venue capacity and gathering sizes will be in the hands of local Howard County Officials. 
  • Customers in restaurants, bars and nightclubs will no longer be required to be seated. Six feet of spacing between tables and other seating will still be recommended, as is spacing between non-household parties.
  • Social distancing is still recommended.
  • All businesses should maintain a COVID response plan that provides COVID safeguards.

Chief Health Officer Dr. Emily Backer supports the Commissioners emergency order extension and mirroring state guidelines. “As a medical professional I highly encourage people to continue to wear masks. With the progress we have made and continue to make I support the Commissioners moving to a mask advisory.  Our local team is very engaged and responsive to this pandemic. Should conditions change we will respond accordingly. In the meantime, I encourage all Howard County residents to get the vaccine as soon as possible”  

Howard County has distributed 18,759 initial dose vaccinations with almost 12,000 fully vaccinated.  

Commissioner Brad Bray stated, “I am thankful for the progress we have made, but we still have work to do, the more people we can vaccinate the sooner we can get to the other side.”

“Personal responsibility continues to be important as we work through this pandemic.  We encourage people to be considerate of others, protect the elderly and those most vulnerable as we go forward.” said Commissioner Jack Dodd. 

City of Kokomo will require face coverings in City Government Facilities.  

Mayor Moore supports the mask advisory.  “I agree with moving to the mask advisory for our community as we work to get to the other side of the virus.  As with County Government, masks will be required inside City facilities as well. I know everyone will continue to work hard and be respectful of each other in the coming weeks ahead.”

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