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Johnson County follows governor’s lead, changing mask mandate to advisory

FRANKLIN, Ind. (WISH) — Health leaders in Johnson County said Thursday they will follow Gov. Eric Holcomb’s lead in changing the mask mandate to an advisory on April 6.

Johnson County just moved to Level Yellow on the state’s tracking map on Wednesday. However, the county’s health officials think people can handle the easing of restrictions responsibly.

Dr. Craig Moorman, executive health officer for Johnson County, says he would like to leave it up to the people to behave responsibly and use common sense when it comes to safety.

“The advisory still strongly recommends mask wearing and distancing especially in indoor settings, and we also need to remind people to keep washing their hands and, if you are sick, stay home,” Moorman said.

Johnson County is currently at a 3.8% positivity rate for the virus and 15.1% of the county is vaccinated.

“We are all tired of wearing masks. We are tired of this virus and things are looking encouraging but we can’t relax too much,” Moorman said.

Now a lot of the decision making is in the hands of business owners to decide if they are ready to ease restrictions as well.

“I think local businesses can be more restrictive if they’d like, and consumers can patronize businesses that they think are operating safely,” Moorman said.

A Greenwood business this year had to close for a day after a customer threatened an employee regarding the mask mandate. Moorman says it could happen again.

“Oh, there is always the potential for that. There are a lot of people that are very fearful and rightfully so; I think this is a very dangerous virus. But, I think people need to give each other space and be respectful,” Moorman said.

With travel on the rise due to spring break, the county health director says he anticipates a spike in cases over the next couple of weeks. “They’d have to get quite a bit worse to reverse some of the progress that we’ve made.”

Moorman says he and other health department officials are already reviewing plans for events this summer to ensure they are still moving forward safely. He says the situation remains fluid and counties will continue to closely monitor the situation to address any necessary changes.

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