MICHIGAN CITY – Local officials are praising city and county residents for doing their part to help control the coronavirus outbreak and telling them to keep up under more stringent guidelines.

"What a crazy time," La Porte County Commissioner Sheila Matias said in a statement.

"Once again, I see that in turbulent times, people yearn for leadership as they face their fears and the what-if's. We're making decisions with you in mind as the daily situations evolve. I find myself speaking to people about the value of calmness and kindness. This is our time to care for one another and show what we are really about as Americans."

Gov. Eric Holcomb issued an executive order Monday calling on Indiana residents to stay home as much as possible, and Michigan City Police Chief Dion Campbell is calling on city residents to comply.

"Governor Holcomb issued a Stay at Home Order that is in effect from March 25-April 7," Campbell said. "This is a crucial step in assuring that Hoosiers everywhere limit their contact with other people and drastically slow down and stop the spread of COVID-19.

What does the order mean to Michigan City residents?

The chief said it simply limits your travel outside of the home to "essential and/or necessary activities," such as: traveling to work, taking care of a loved one, necessary doctor appointments and to gather necessary household suppliesjust to name a few.

"This order, although now official, is what most Michigan City residents have been doing since the middle of last week," Campbell said.

"The Stay at Home Order is to be used in conjunction with all of the other COVID-19 protocols that have been in place to include: social distancing (6 feet), frequent hand washing, using tissues to cover coughs and sneezes, and frequent cleaning of high-touch areas in your home and office such as door handles, light switches, tables, and chairs."

Holcomb also announced the closure of state license branches for in-person services and issued a 60-day extension to all driver’s license and vehicle registration expirations.

"This means that every Michigan City resident with an Indiana issued identification and vehicle registration will have a 60-day extension past their expiration date to get it updated," Campbell said.

"During this time, the Michigan City Police Department will not be issuing citations for these violations. We understand that everyone has so many more important issues to deal with and worrying about getting a ticket for an expired driver’s license or license plate shouldn’t be one of them," he said.

Campbell said the MCPD "strongly encourage all Michigan City residents to adhere to Governor Holcomb’s Stay at Home Order and all other COVID-19 safety protocols.

"The time we spend fighting COVID-19 is dependent on our actions and ability to follow the general rules now! If we all continue to follow the guidelines and work through the inconveniences now, we can greatly reduce the COVID-19 spread and all get back to our normal lives as quickly as possible.

"On a global scale, no one has been this way before. As a community, we will make it through this together ... and remember this is temporary."

Campbell said the city has done a remarkable job so far.

"I am amazed at how the citizens of this community are reaching out and helping each other. In the worst of times, the best comes out of us."

Brillson called it a stressful but rewarding time to be in a leadership position.

"These have been busy and high-stress days exercising that leadership muscle as we work together as a team across jurisdictions with the feds, the state, county health, mayors, law enforcement, health care providers, the judicial system, schools, EMS, Emergency Management ... trying to ensure that we are working together to keep both our community and our valued employees safe and healthy."

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