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Governor: COVID-19 state of emergency needed for economy, vaccination effort

The governor said keeping the order is best plan of action for Indiana at this time, even though he was willing to lift the state of emergency.

INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric Holcomb spoke further on plans to extend the state’s public health emergency while out volunteering on Thanksgiving Day. 

The governor said, at this time, keeping the order is best plan of action for Indiana, even though he was willing to lift the state of emergency.

The plan fell apart after a seven-hour committee hearing Tuesday. A Republican-backed preliminary draft bill would have ended the order, but also would have restricted workplace vaccination requirements.

The business and health community came out overwhelmingly against the move.

13News asked the governor if he thought the bill went too far in restricting businesses that wanted a vaccinated workforce.

“It didn't materialize and so we've moved on,” he said, “We'll bring this conversation back to life in January, right, and there will be a lot of folks who’d have had a lot of time to think things through and I look forward to addressing those, whatever shape and form they come in."

The governor said he knows Hoosiers are frustrated, but said the state of emergency is in effect for good reason.

"If folks are frustrated,” he said. “I get it. We're all tired of the pandemic, but you know, we have to be smart about when and how we conduct our affairs."

One major concern was the preliminary draft would have put Indiana law at odds with federal law. Some businesses worried it would make it hard for them to get government contracts.

Indiana lawmakers were also concerned wording in the draft could also prevent the state from getting federal funds to help vaccinate children 5 to 11 against COVID-19.

The emergency order is now set to continue through the end of the year. It was first put into effect in March 2020.