Here's how Indiana businesses are taking steps to protect employees from coronavirus

Alexandria Burris
Indianapolis Star

As the number of COVID-19 cases rises across the country, area businesses are implementing precautionary measures to reduce their employees' risk of exposure to the coronavirus. 

Major companies such as Eli Lilly and Co. have encouraged their staff to work from home if possible, while others such as Allison Transmission have withdrawn from a major conference to protect employees. 

Here's a look at how some Indianapolis employers are responding to the threat of the coronavirus. 

Coronavirus in Indiana:How Hoosiers should prepare and what to expect

Allison Transmission 

The transmission manufacturer announced this past weekend that it was withdrawing from CONEXPO – CON/AGG 2020 taking place this week in Las Vegas. The international construction trade show begins Tuesday and ends March 14. An estimated 120,000 people are registered to attend, according to online reports. 

In a statement posted to its website, the company said its focus is on the health and well-being of associates, customers, suppliers and visitors.

"While we are disappointed to withdraw our participation at such an important industry event, we are taking these precautions after careful consideration, and out of an abundance of caution, to minimize potential exposure for our associates, where possible," the company said. 

A spokeswoman for Allison Transmission says the company is working with health care professionals and following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to encourage healthy hygiene habits, limit travel time and distribute timely and accurate information. 

"At this time, based on known risk, we think the current precautions we taking are appropriate to minimize the potential exposure of our employees," spokeswoman Claire Gregory said. "However, we continue to monitor the situation and will make adjustments as necessary to protect the safety and health of our employees."

Allison Transmission employs roughly 2,900 people worldwide, including 2,600 in Indiana.


Spokesman Tony Felts said Anthem is closely monitoring the coronavirus developments and what they mean for the insurer's customers and employees. 

"The health and safety of our associates remains a priority and we are providing timely updates and information in accordance with CDC guidelines," he said via email. "

Associates working in clinical setting and providing direct care to customers are receiving guidelines and implementing protocols to minimize their risk of exposure when caring for possible COVID-19 patients, Felt said.  

Anthem also has suspended all international business travel, he added. The company is only allowing business critical domestic travel.

Community Health Network

Community Health Network Some area hospitals have also canceled all work-related travel for employees.  Community Health Network took this step to ensure their providers stay healthy, said spokeswoman Kris Kirschner in an email. hat will also ensure that the caregivers will “be able to serve if we are to get an influx of patients,” she said.

The Cook Group

Spokeswoman Marsha Lovejoy says a global executive response team at The Cook Group, a Bloomington-base medical device manufacturer, meets daily to monitor coronavirus developments. 

The team also is tasked with executing the company's business continuity plans to help patients. "Our top priority is the health and safety of our employees and maintaining our ability to serve the medical community, and the patients, who need our medical devices," Lovejoy said. 

To that end, the company has implemented policies restricting employees from traveling to and from China, Italy, Iran, Japan and South Korea. Anyone travelign from one of those countrties must self-quaratine for 14 days prior to returning to the office.

Additionally, The Cook Group also has restricted company intercontinental travel.

"As the situation continues to evolve, we will adjust our restrictions appropriately so we can continue to protect our employees and maintain our responsibility to the medical community," Lovejoy said. 

The Cook Group has more than 12,000 employees worldwide and roughly 8,200 employees in Indiana. 

Cummins Inc. 

Spokesman Jon Mills tells IndyStar that Cummins has not implemented a policy for U.S. employees to work at home because of concerns for the virus. However, the diesel-engine maker did extend shutdowns of its operations in China.

Many of those manufacturing sites resumed operations between Feb. 6 and 17, Mills said. Remaining facilities in Wuhan, China, have a targeted date of March 11 to resume operations. That is subject to change.

In the U.S., Mills said, the company is taking several precautions to keep employees healthy and prevent the spread of the virus.

Workers are being asked to stay at home if they are sick with any illness. The company has increased the frequency of office cleanings and provided extra hand sanitizer and wipes. Employees are being asked to do their part to keep the office clean. 

Last week, Cummins implemented global travel restrictions for all domestic and international flights through the end of March. The safety measures are constantly being re-evaluated. 

Eskenazi Health

On Monday Eskenazi Health has said all non-essential business travel will be canceled through at least May 31.

Also, Eskenazi has asked employees “to use good judgment in their personal travel plans,” said Tom Surber, an Eskenazi spokesman in an email.

Eskenazi is also asking any employees to notify Eskenazi Health Occupation Health if they travel internationally, he said.

IU Health

IU Health restricted business travel on March 5. The measure will be in place for 45 days, IU Health spokesman Jeff Swiatek said in an email. Employees were also encouraged to use virtual meetings when possible.

“Guidance on personal travel will be coming soon to help employees make informed decisions,” he said.

F.C. Tucker Company

Real estate company F.C. Tucker says its home-owning clients have not canceled open houses out of concern for the virus. 

Staff at the real estate firm have been advised to stay home if they are experiencing symptoms of any illnesses and wait 24 hours before returning. Claire Belby, an agent broker for the firm, said no remote-work mandates have been issued to employees. 

F.C. Tucker has 40 offices and more than 1,500 sales associates in Indiana and Kentucky. 


A spokesman for Rolls-Royce says the engine-maker is closely monitoring the situation daily.

The company already has decreased employee travel to international destinations as a precaution.

"We have also reminded employees of the importance of basic health protections, such as increased hand washing, and have added additional hand sanitizing stations around the facilities," said George McLaren, Rolls-Royce spokesman.  

Rolls-Royce employs roughly 4,000 workers in Indiana. 

Available resources:IU Health offers free virtual coronavirus screenings


Earlier this month, Amy Weaver, president and chief legal counsel for San Francisco-based Salesforce, said in a blog post that the cloud-based software company is prohibiting cross-border travel for its employees during the month of March. The company also has restricted all but the most critical domestic travel and moved in-person customer events online. 

Salesforce also has encouraged employees to get a flu shot and to stay home if they are exhibiting symptoms for any illness.

Salesforce has about 2,000 employees in Indianapolis. 

Contact IndyStar reporter Alexandria Burris at or call 317-617-2690. Follow her on Twitter: @allyburris. Shari Rudavsky contributed to this report.