INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Face masks will be required in all public places in Indianapolis beginning next week, despite a recent decline in confirmed coronavirus cases among residents, city officials announced Thursday.
Mayor Joe Hogsett said the new mandate taking effect July 9 will require face coverings in all indoor public spaces unless a person is alone in an office or eating at a restaurant. Masks also will be required outdoors when social distancing can't be maintained, such as sitting in the stands of a sporting event or standing in line at an ice cream shop, he said.
The mandate for the state's largest city follows similar mask requirements introduced in St. Joseph, Elkhart and LaGrange counties in northern Indiana because of COVID-19 outbreaks.
Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb said Wednesday that he would not issue a statewide mask mandate, but he encouraged everyone to wear face coverings as he delayed lifting capacity limits in place for restaurants, bars and entertainment venues until at least July 18.
Hogsett, a Democrat, said wearing a mask was a simple way to slow the spread of the coronavirus and save lives.
“That means, if you are willfully choosing to not follow this order, you are dead wrong in the fullest sense of that expression,” Hogsett said. “This weekend, we celebrate those who did the difficult things to preserve personal freedom. We don’t celebrate those who whined about it.”