INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Gov. Eric Holcomb’s statewide mask mandate is now in effect in Indiana.
The mandate began on Monday and is summarized below:
- Applies to anyone 8 or older in indoor public spaces, commercial entities or transportation services, or outside public spaces when people cannot socially distance.
- Mask use in schools required for Grade 3 and higher for faculty and staff, volunteers and anyone in schools. Masks also will be 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.
State and local health departments will be responsible for enforcing compliance of the mask mandate. The executive order does not include criminal penalties for people who don’t wear a mask.
The governor said this mask mandate is because the state is seeing an increase in overall hospitalizations and a rise in positive COVID-19 cases.
Indiana’s mask mandate comes after neighboring states have created mandates: Illinois, since May 1; Kentucky, May 11; and Michigan, June 18. Ohio’s mask mandate began on July 23. The governor said he does not regret waiting until now to mandate masks. He delayed the start of the mandate until Monday so people and their communities had time to adjust.
Holcomb said in the state’s Wednesday coronavirus briefing, “I know not everyone will be supportive of this mandate. Compliance and enforcement are always in question. Our approach, if you recall, since Day 1, since the very beginning of this pandemic, has an approach of education, of appealing to one’s civic duty and public good. You might even say public pride and being part of the solution. And it will continue to be.”