The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, March 25, 2020 1:00 am

Braun: Virus limits best set at local level

BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

U.S. Sen. Mike Braun opposes any notion of a federal mandate for Americans to shelter in place during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Do I think there needs to be a homogenized approach that applies everywhere? Definitely not. I think that's where we would err on the side of not being agile and not being somewhat selective on what makes sense,” Braun, R-Ind., said Tuesday in a conference call with news media.

“It's clearly a case where (with) high population density, you've got to be more careful than you probably do where it's more sparsely populated,” he said.

Braun warned that shutting down most commerce and travel nationwide to slow the spread of COVID-19 “would push us further into a situation where you create an economic depression.”

“I think each governor is going to have to make that decision of what makes sense in their own state,” he said.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on Monday ordered Hoosiers to stay in their homes except for essential activities until April 7.

Braun said government officials should “try different methods that seem to be tailored to ... each state, each locality, to get back to normal.”

Braun could be seen Monday on C-SPAN keeping his distance from colleagues on the Senate floor. Other senators stood much closer to one another during conversations. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and other administration officials have often been practically shoulder-to-shoulder during their daily White House briefings.

Shouldn't federal officials be practicing what they preach on social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak?

“I'd say a hundred percent,” Braun replied. “It's harder, because we do need to communicate a little bit. I try to keep that five to six feet (away from other people). Not always possible, but that's what we need to get this thing across the finish line.”

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