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: 614946

Reported Deaths: 9807
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion849231342
Lake45784693
Allen33103560
Hamilton29752316
St. Joseph27572383
Elkhart24496346
Vanderburgh19679255
Tippecanoe18150144
Johnson15234296
Porter14970172
Hendricks14550253
Madison11071223
Clark10852145
Vigo10819185
Monroe9496115
Delaware9193136
LaPorte9173164
Howard8325148
Kosciusko811485
Warrick683399
Hancock6783106
Bartholomew6659100
Floyd6522113
Wayne6194164
Grant6050118
Dubois559081
Boone557968
Morgan551996
Henry512365
Marshall507884
Dearborn488745
Cass487864
Noble476159
Jackson428747
Shelby423381
Lawrence395180
Clinton375845
Gibson375560
Harrison354046
DeKalb351365
Montgomery349754
Knox337839
Miami325244
Steuben315846
Whitley313126
Wabash306951
Adams303636
Ripley301646
Putnam299152
Huntington295760
Jasper293035
White275943
Daviess271776
Jefferson267738
Decatur249983
Fayette249949
Greene242763
Posey241828
Wells237551
LaGrange230363
Scott227939
Clay225032
Randolph215848
Jennings200937
Spencer193622
Sullivan193633
Washington189023
Fountain185227
Starke177044
Jay168723
Owen168338
Fulton165430
Orange161035
Carroll160616
Rush156418
Perry156129
Vermillion150034
Franklin149933
Tipton134433
Parke13098
Pike118826
Blackford112023
Pulaski97937
Newton92621
Brown88835
Benton87110
Crawford8099
Martin75013
Warren6867
Switzerland6695
Union6297
Ohio4967
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