General Requirements For Businesses & Entities

General Requirements For Businesses And Entities Page Banner

Under the Governor's Executive Order 21-02 issued on January 28, 2021, all businesses and entities situated or operating in the State of Indiana are covered by directives in this Executive Order and include any for-profit, non-profit or educational entity, regardless of the nature of the service, the function it performs, or its corporate or entity structure. 

Hoosier businesses and entities include retail, restaurants, professional services, personal services, cultural and entertainment, public amusement, gyms, exercise and fitness centers, sports and athletic activities, outdoor activities, child care, day camps, adult care, education, health care providers and operations, financial and insurance, social services, charitable and religious, laundry, hotels and motels, manufacturing and production, trades, shipping and delivery, transportation, industrial, labor, infrastructure, media, and governmental. 

All Hoosier businesses and entities are allowed to be open and operate subject to the measures and restrictions in the Executive Order.

If you have visited a Porter County business or entity who is not compliant with these guidelines, you can REPORT A NON-COMPLIANT BUSINESS ONLINE to the Porter County Health Department. Please be sure to read the guidelines below BEFORE filing a report.

COVID-19 Response Plans: All businesses and entities continuing operations or resuming full operations are required to develop a plan to implement measures and institute safeguards to ensure a safe environment for their employees, customers, clients, and members.

All open businesses and entities must re-evaluate any existing plan and update it to reflect current business practices and safeguards. The business plan must be provided to each employee or staff and posted publicly.

The plan shall address, at a minimum, the following points:

  • instituting an employee health screening process;
  • employing enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols for the workplace, including regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces;
  • enhancing the ability of employees, customers and clients to wash hands or take other personal hygiene measures such as use of hand sanitizer; and
  • complying with social distancing requirements established by the CDC, including   maintaining six-foot social distancing for both employees and members of the general public when possible and/ or employing other separation measures such as wearing face coverings or using barriers when social distancing is not possible.

Face Covering Requirements: 

  • Signage: All Hoosier businesses are required to place clearly visible signage at their public and employee entrances notifying that face coverings are required for all individuals entering the business.
  • Employees: Businesses shall require employees to wear face coverings, as set forth below.
  • Customers, Clients and Visitors: Businesses should only admit those customers, clients, vendors and other visitors who wear face coverings, as set forth in below.

Social Distancing and Other Sanitation Requirements: The phrase "social distancing" means maintaining at least six (6) feet of distance from other individuals or, in the event six (6) feet of distance is not possible, use of a barrier to separate individuals or members of a single household from others.

 The phrase "sanitation requirements" or "sanitation measures" includes washing hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer, covering coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands), regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces, and not shaking hands.

 All businesses and entities must take proactive measures to ensure compliance with the social distancing and sanitation requirements as outlined in this directive, including:

  • Designate Six-Foot Distances: Designating with signage, tape or by other means, six (6) feet of spacing for employees, customers, clients or members to maintain appropriate distance.
  • Hand Sanitizer and Sanitizing Products: Having hand sanitizer, and sanitizing products, readily available for employees and customers. Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of work areas, and even more frequent cleaning of high-touch areas.
  • Vulnerable Populations: Continuing to implement or resuming separate operating hours for the elderly and vulnerable customers and continuing to offer online ordering and/ or curbside pickup.
  • Online and Remote Access: Posting online whether a facility is open and how best to reach the facility and to continue services by phone or remotely.

Compliance with OSHA Standards: All employers, whether manufacturers, distributors, professional offices, retailers or others, must comply with safety and health standards established and enforced by IOSHA. Employers are subject to specific standards to prevent the exposure or spread of a disease. Additionally, the General Duty Clause requires employers to provide their employees with a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm.

Guidance for all Businesses/Employers: All businesses and employers are encouraged to adopt and/ or take the following actions:

  • utilize policies regarding telework and remote work when reasonable and practicable;
  • ensure sick leave policies are up to date, flexible, and non-punitive in order to allow I sick employees to stay home to care for themselves, children or other family members. Consider encouraging employees to do a self-assessment each day in order to check if they have any COVID-19 type symptoms (fever, cough or shortness of breath);
  • actively encourage sick employees to stay home until they are free of fever and symptoms for the requisite time periods recommended by the CDC as set forth here:   Suspend any policies and do not require a healthcare provider's note to validate the illness or return to work of employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness;
  • promptly separate employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms from other employees and send them home immediately. Restrict their access to the business until they have recovered;
  • reinforce key messages to all employees regularly (including stay home when sick, use cough and sneeze etiquette, and practice hand hygiene), and place posters in areas where they are most likely to be seen. Provide protection supplies such as soap and water, hand sanitizer, tissues, and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees;
  • frequently perform enhanced environmental cleaning of commonly touched surfaces, such as workstations, countertops, railings, door handles, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label. Provide disposable wipes so commonly used surfaces can be wiped down by employees before each use; 
  • reduce the number of employees and personnel permitted to congregate in common areas or break rooms and take additional measures to ensure social distancing is achieved in these areas; and
  • be prepared to change business practices, if needed, in order to maintain critical operations (e.g., identify alternative suppliers, prioritize customers or temporarily suspend some of your operations).

Additional Requirements For Restaurants, Bars, Taverns, Nightclubs and Other Establishments Providing In-Person Food:  Restaurants, bars, taverns, nightclubs and other establishments providing in-person food and/ or drink service must adhere to the following directives:

  • all patrons must remain seated while consuming food and/ or drink or when otherwise remaining on the premises; and
  • while capacity limits are no longer based on a percentage of overall occupancy, seating must be arranged and maintained so that individuals, households, or parties are spaced at least six (6) feet apart from any other individual, household or party.
  • self-service beverage and food stations (buffets, salad bars, etc.) are permitted but not recommended unless a staff member serves patrons.


Workplace Safety: IOSHA has been directed to take all available administrative and enforcement actions against businesses or entities failing to comply with workplace safety conditions. 

Health /Law Enforcement Officials: The ISDH, Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Alcohol & Tobacco Commission, local boards of health, and other state and local officials or law enforcement officers may take all available administrative and enforcement actions against businesses or entities failing to comply with restrictions and other public health requirements for businesses as set forth in the Executive Order. It is recommended the following incremental steps be taken:

  • issuing a verbal order to cease the unsafe practice so an owner has an opportunity to comply; 
  • if a business entity fails to comply with a verbal order, health department should an order to cease the unsafe practice; 
  • if a business entity continues operation in an unsafe manner despite an order to cease and desist, the relevant official should issue an order to close the business entity; 
  • if an order to close a business is issued, the business shall be reported to the Secretary of State and to any relevant licensing, permitting, or certifying board, commission or other entity for consideration of revocation proceedings; and 
  • if an order to close a business is issued, the matter should be considered for referral to the local prosecuting attorney. 

Face Covering Requirement: Unless exempted below applies or when in a private residence, every individual within the State of Indiana shall wear a face covering over the nose and mouth when:

  •  inside a business, a public building, or other indoor place open to the public. This does not extend, however, to private offices, private workspaces or meetings in which six ( 6) feet of social distancing can be achieved and maintained between individuals not in the same household;
  • in an outdoor public space wherever it is not feasible to maintain six (6) feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household; or
  • using public transportation or while in a taxi, private car service, or ride-sharing vehicle.


  • Face Coverings: A ''face covering" means a cloth, preferably with two layers of material, which covers the nose and mouth and is secured to the head with ties, straps, or loops over the ears or is simply wrapped around the lower face. 
  • Face Shields: A "face shield" is a mask, typically made of clear plastic, which covers the nose and mouth. 

Exemptions to Face Coverings: The following individuals are exempt from this directive to wear a face covering but are strongly encouraged to do so if practicable and without undue risk, or alternatively, are strongly encouraged to wear a face shield:

  • children under two (2) years of age should not wear a face covering because of therisk of suffocation;
  •  children who are over the age of two (2) years and under the age of eight (8) unless otherwise required by a directive in this Executive Order;
  • any person with a medical condition, mental health condition or disability which prevents wearing a face covering;
  • any person who is deaf or hard of hearing, or communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication;
  • any person for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines;
  • any person while consuming food or drink, or is seated at a restaurant or other establishment to eat or drink;
  • any person while exercising or engaging in sports activity and who can maintain six (6) feet of social distancing from other individuals not in the same household;
  • any person who is in a swimming pool, lake, or similar body of water and who can maintain six (6) feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household;
  • any person while driving alone or with passengers who are part of the same household as the driver;
  • any person obtaining a service which requires temporary removal of the face covering for security surveillance, screening, or a need for specific access to the face, such as while visiting a bank or while obtaining a health-related or personal care service involving the face, however the removal of the face covering must be temporary and limited only to the extent necessary to obtain the service;
  • any person, upon request, as part of a law enforcement investigatory stop or investigation or court-related proceeding;
  • any person who is incarcerated;
  • any person who is experiencing homelessness;
  • any person while giving a speech for a broadcast or to an audience if the person can maintain six (6) feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household; or
  • any person attending or engaged in a religious service as he or she must already maintain six (6) feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household to mitigate against the spread of respiratory droplets from singing or their participation in a service.