With the coronavirus outbreak causing significant disruption throughout Indiana and the rest of the world, the Elkhart County CVB wants to provide its partners, stakeholders and residents with the most factual information and credible guidance for your response.
As of March 25, 2020, the state of Indiana is under a “stay at home” order for all but essential travel and essential activities. On March 28, 2020, Elkhart County was under a travel watch/level orange advisory, meaning residents should take further precautions against hazardous conditions.
Permitted activities include travel to and from work and visiting the grocery store, pharmacy, gas station, medical care facilities and activities such as trash pickup. Contact the state’s Critical Industries Hotline at 877-820-0890 or email@example.com to see if your business/activity is permitted, or go to this page for more information.
The Elkhart County COVID Hotline can be reached at 574-523-2106 from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
For resources we are providing to local residents such as restaurant updates, outdoor activities that can be enjoyed safely, cancellations and closures, see this page.
As of March 17, 2020, the Elkhart County Visitor Center is closed to the public, though staff continues its work of representing Elkhart County and its business partners.
Economic relief for business owners
The CARES Act was signed into law on Friday, March 27, and provides for several programs to help businesses, employees, hospitals and government in response to the coronavirus outbreak. We recommend that you consult with your trusted financial professional and/or lawyer, as this is a complex process.
This blog by RSM McGladrey provides a good summary of the available options. You can also refer to the Indiana Small Business Development Center provide guidance on accessing assistance such as the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program as well as general crisis response.
The three options are:
The Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program makes low-interest loans available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and non-profits to pay for costs such as payroll, debt and other costs incurred by the coronavirus response. Here’s a handy guide on how to apply.
The Paycheck Protection Program provides loans, backed by the federal government, that can be obtained from financial institutions that can be used to cover payroll costs.
Businesses with 500 to 10,000 employees can access a relief program in the form of low-interest loans to cover losses incurred by the coronavirus response.
Again, consult with your financial advisor/accountant or a lawyer as you engage in this process.
Resources for hospitality workers
The CARES Act also provides relief for Americans adversely affected economically by the crisis. Many residents will receive up to $1,200 checks, depending on eligibility, while unemployment benefits have been enhanced.
State- and local-level assistance includes:
Filing for unemployment with the Indiana Department of Workforce Development provides assistance and resources to unemployed workers. Have questions about how to file and whether you’re eligible? Click here.
The COVID-19 Community Response Fund was created by the United Way of Elkhart and LaGrange Counties and Community Foundation of Elkhart County to assist non-profits as they respond to people in need.
South Bend Elkhart Hospitality United was created to raise money to assist displaced hospitality workers.
Other tourism/travel resources
The Visit Indiana Coronavirus page has a number of helpful guides to help you understand the state’s crisis response, answer questions, and connect with other industry groups.
Destinations International resource page: Destinations International is a global leader in the tourism and hospitality industry.
Health and safety information
To our residents, partners and future visitors, stay safe and stay positive. Here are a few important reminders.
Complying with the state on your local government’s safety precautions are ways in which we in Elkhart County can show that we love each other and care for our community. Continue to follow social distancing (avoiding contact with other people at public places) and practicing good hygiene.
The Elkhart County CVB is grateful to the medical professionals, educators, first responders, municipal employees, and grocery and food service workers who are working hard to keep our community safe, to teach our students in the face of adversity, and to keep our families supplied with good food. We are also sympathetic to the tourism and hospitality workers as well as families who will be significantly impacted by this crisis.
Here is information from health experts to protect yourself and your staff:
- Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:
- Respiratory droplets released into the air by coughing and sneezing.
- Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands.
- Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands
- Rarely, fecal contamination.
The best way to protect yourself from any respiratory illness, including the flu, is to:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
To remain up-to-date on the most current health information, we refer you to these sources: