WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Indiana's statewide mask mandate lessened to a mask advisory on Tuesday. However, several Indiana counties and cities are keeping their more strict mask requirements in place, including the City of West Lafayette.
Mayor John Dennis said West Lafayette is consistently in the top five of Indiana's most densely populated cities. He said that is another important factor he is taking into consideration regarding the mask mandate, especially since the majority of West Lafayette's population is in the early 20's age range.
The city's main priority is finding the balance between keeping people safe and avoiding another total shutdown.
"We don't want to be the cause of having a massive spread of the COVID virus because of a lack of understanding of our population base," he said. "So we're going to do the right thing is mandating that people wear masks."
Another influential part of the decision is Purdue University. As we previously reported, Purdue will also not be lifting its current Protect Purdue protocols, which include requiring masks in spaces where social distancing isn't possible.
So West Lafayette will keep its mask mandate at least through the end of the spring semester. Mayor Dennis said that this summer will give the city leaders time to re-evaluate the mask mandate.
While he recognizes it can be hard for some people to accept, he hopes people will understand that this is the right thing to do for the city.
"We're not out of the woods yet," he said. "There are different strains out there now and we don't necessarily know what that's going to do to us."
The City of Lafayette said it will keep a mask mandate in place for City Hall through April 20th. CityBus is also keeping its mask requirements in place for drivers and passengers for the foreseeable future.