Carmel taking wait-and-see approach to mask mandate

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — The city of Carmel is taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to the state’s decision to end the mask mandate and ease restrictions come April 6.

Carmel has traditionally followed the Hamilton County Health Department’s lead, and city spokesperson Dan McFeely said that will likely be the case this time, too.

“We have taken our cue of the governor’s office and the Hamilton County Health Department office. They’re the experts, and we rely on their knowledge and we will take whatever Hamilton County does and make our decision at that time,” McFeely said.

When it comes to businesses and the rules they enforce, city officials say they also don’t get involved. McFeely said that is left to the health department.

He said numbers are trending in a positive direction and he’s hopeful that will have an influence on the county’s ability to lift some restrictions.

“We’re slowly starting to schedule some events coming up this year but we’re putting plans into place knowing it’s going to be a little different; but, we could very well still mandate masks at a large event where we think people will come,” McFeely said.

Neighbors weren’t surprised by Marion County’s decision to not follow the state. Hannah Rike said she is glad every county has a choice.

“I think Marion is more of a city. I know where we are right now in Carmel, main Carmel area is more city-like, but, yeah, I think it should be separate just because we kind of live in different areas. It is different flows,” Rike said.

Courtney Nix agreed but said it would be easier to keep track of the rules if every place were the same.

“So if you are in between counties, there’s a set set of guidelines everywhere, but I guess it just comes down to just follow the rules in the county that you’re in,” Nix said.

McFeely said if the mayor sees a need to put an emergency order in place and go in a different direction from the county, it would have be approved by the City Council.

County commissioners are meeting Friday morning to discuss how Hamilton County will move forward.