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Gov. Holcomb will sign executive order making face coverings mandatory in certain situations

Gov. Holcomb announced in his weekly live stream on COVID-19 that he will sign an executive order making face coverings mandatory in certain situations.

Posted: Jul 22, 2020 2:45 PM
Updated: Jul 23, 2020 8:03 AM

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WLFI) — Gov. Holcomb announced in his weekly live stream on COVID-19 that he will sign an executive order making face coverings mandatory in certain situations. 

Hoosiers will be required to wear masks starting July 27 in the following situations:

  • Anyone 8 years or older in indoor public spaces, commercial entities or transportation services, or in outside public spaces when you cannot socially distance.
  • Mask use in schools required for grades 3 and up, faculty and staff, volunteers and anyone else in schools
    • Masks are also required for co-curricular and extracurricular activities, with exceptions for strenuous physical activity
  • Exceptions will be made for medical purposes, strenuous physical activity, eating and drinking
  • Masks are strongly recommended for ages 2-7

The Republican governor had resisted a statewide order as similar mask mandates were imposed in recent weeks for a growing number of Indiana cities, including Indianapolis, Evansville, South Bend, Gary, Bloomington and West Lafayette. All of Indiana’s neighboring states will also have mask mandates once one announced Wednesday by Ohio’s governor takes effect Thursday evening.

“As we continue to monitor the data, we’ve seen a concerning change in some of our key health indicators,” Gov. Holcomb said. “Hoosiers have worked hard to help re-open our state, and we want to remain open. By masking up, we can and will save lives and slow the spread of COVID-19.”

The determining factors in the decision to implement the order where an increase in the COVID-19 positivity rate, and increase in the number of hospitalization of cases, additional counties seeing more cases, and an increase in cases and positivity rates in neighboring states.

The state will approach enforcement of the face covering requirements with an emphasis on education. The executive order states a penalty can be levied under the authority of state law. Local governments may impose more restrictive guidelines. 

“We want businesses to stay open, we want more Hoosiers to continue this trend of going back safely to work,” Holcomb said. “We don’t want to dial it back or put it in reverse or, as some are, shutting down again.”

The head of the state’s largest business organization called the mask mandate “a necessary step at this time in continuing to reopen Indiana safely.”

“Our economy will not be on the full road to recovery until some certainty is brought to this uncontrolled pandemic,” Indiana Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Brinegar said. “The wearing of masks is a proven strategy for protecting others and enhancing our health -- both physical and economic.”

Holcomb said widespread mask use will also help in school reopenings, saying “There is no more important task before us” than returning students to class.

“We’re asking our kids and their teachers to mask up and our kids should not be getting mixed messages throughout the day," he said. “When they leave school grounds, they need to see that everyone is doing what they’re doing.”

Democratic governor candidate Woody Myers, a physician and former state health commissioner, called for a statewide mask order on July 1 and faulted Holcomb for not acting sooner.

“Governor Eric Holcomb stalled for months, caving to the anti-science conservatives -- taking action only when every single state surrounding us implemented a mask order,” Myers said in a statement.

Holcomb repeated his support for allowing fans to attend the rescheduled Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which released a safety plan Wednesday for the Aug. 23 race.

Coronavirus hospitalizations jumped by 66 people to 869 as of Tuesday — a figure that’s plunged since peaking in mid-April but has curved back up since late June, according to the state health department. Indiana’s ICU cases grew by 61 people to 328 on Tuesday, up from the low 200s two weeks earlier.

Health officials also reported 17 more deaths of people with confirmed or presumed COVID-19 infections, raising the state’s death toll to 2,863 since mid-March.

A couple hundred people attended a weekend protest at the Statehouse against mask mandates and other restrictions imposed since the coronavirus outbreak swept across the country in March.

Holcomb pointed to President Donald Trump’s description of mask wearing as “patriotic” this week in defending his decision. He also said while violating the mask order was potentially a misdemeanor crime, the “mask police will not be patrolling Hoosier streets.”

Holcomb urged an end to the “cavalier behavior” by many people of not wearing face coverings when in crowded places.

“This is nothing that I wanted to do,” he said. “This is not about what I want to do or wished would be. This is what the reality is.”

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1011197

Reported Deaths: 16524
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1359292129
Lake666181167
Allen58254802
Hamilton46498467
St. Joseph44559617
Elkhart36044510
Vanderburgh32333481
Tippecanoe28037260
Johnson25196446
Hendricks23960360
Porter22985367
Madison18820410
Clark18609253
Vigo17530303
Monroe15319200
LaPorte15230252
Delaware15127264
Howard14801290
Kosciusko12410149
Hancock11773176
Bartholomew11695180
Warrick11305189
Floyd11138215
Wayne11023253
Grant10131220
Morgan9506177
Boone8965116
Dubois8281131
Henry8252153
Dearborn823493
Noble8064106
Marshall7981135
Cass7556123
Lawrence7479172
Shelby7216119
Jackson700990
Gibson6614115
Harrison651892
Huntington6447100
Knox6427106
DeKalb6363100
Montgomery6293112
Miami595298
Putnam584179
Clinton579271
Whitley568455
Steuben566876
Wabash5363104
Jasper536180
Jefferson513297
Ripley501987
Adams483777
Daviess4684115
Scott439875
Greene427296
Clay426960
Wells426088
White420964
Decatur4177104
Fayette407387
Jennings390262
Posey377544
LaGrange361778
Washington360451
Randolph3476100
Spencer340743
Fountain336160
Sullivan330852
Starke319171
Owen315571
Fulton313468
Orange295064
Jay285546
Franklin266443
Perry265752
Rush263832
Carroll262434
Vermillion259854
Parke232029
Pike229643
Tipton229059
Blackford195042
Pulaski184657
Crawford160125
Newton159848
Benton151217
Brown147047
Martin139319
Switzerland135311
Warren121416
Union107216
Ohio84613
Unassigned0544

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