TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - The City of Lafayette and Tippecanoe County are transitioning to a mask advisory beginning Tuesday.
The advisory means people can choose whether or not to wear masks within buildings owned by Lafayette and Tippecanoe County.
Exceptions are being made at the courthouse and jail. It will be up to the individual judges what protocols they want in their courtrooms.
Tippecanoe County Sheriff Bob Goldsmith said they moved to relax their mask requirements when Governor Eric Holcomb made the statewide move on April 6th.
He said they don't have any cases of COVID in the jail right now and that things are going steadily with modified mask protocols.
"The people that are inside the building in the secured area, not open to the public unless they have an escort, you don't have to wear a mask if you don't want to," he said. "Back when you're dealing with the inmates, if they are in a day room together, they don't need to wear a mask. However, if they are escorted to another location then they do need to wear a mask. If any of the staff has direct contact with them, they have to wear a mask."
He said they have started allowing groups to come back into the jail to work with inmates. However, he said they are only allowed to work the groups of people who stay together. They aren't allowed to mix inmates together who aren't in the same groups.
He said they are getting good cooperation from those in the jail.
"I've gone back and talked to them myself a few times," said the sheriff. "They've been outstanding with this, we haven't had any issues and they understand. I'm sure they don't like it but we've communicated with them, like this what we're doing and this is why."
He said if cases should start to appear back in the jail again, they would move back to the stricter mask policy.
He said they are talking with their health care provider this week about giving the inmates the option to get the vaccine soon. They are hoping to administer the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine to those who want it. The single dose option is preferred because Sheriff Goldsmith can't guarantee if the people will still be in the jail by the time their second dose appointment comes around.
As we've previously reported, the City of West Lafayette is continuing to enforce mask-wearing for the foreseeable future. Mayor John Dennis has said the city will continue to work in tandem with Purdue's COVID protocol decisions to keep both parts of the community on the same page.