Holcomb announces state mask mandate beginning Monday

Wabash Valley COVID-19 updates

INDIANAPOLIS (WTWO/WAWV) — Gov. Eric Holcomb on Wednesday announced a state mask mandate will go into effect Monday.

The executive order will require face coverings for anyone 8 years old or older in the following places:

  • Public indoor spaces and commercial entities
  • While using public transportation or other vehicle services such as a taxi or ride share
  • Outdoor public spaces when it’s not possible to socially distance from people not in the same household

“While we have continued to fare better than many other states, now we have to hunker down in a different way,” Holcomb said.

The mandate will also include requiring masks in schools for grades 3 through 12.

This includes students, staff, faculty, and volunteers.

“Wearing a mask can reduce the distance that droplets from a cough or sneeze can spread. Some studies have suggested that it can reduce the risk of transmission by up to 80 percent,” said Dr. Lindsay Weaver, chief medical officer for Indiana State Department of Health.

Masks will also be required during extra and co-curricular activities, with an exception for strenuous physical activity.

Holcomb says not following the mandate is a Class B misdemeanor but also says police won’t actively seek those not wearing a mask.

“Please know the mask police will not be patrolling Hoosier streets,” Holcomb said.

Instead, Holcomb is asking Hoosiers for their compliance and assistance in slowing the spread of COVID-19.

“We are going to continue along with our partnerships locally to try to appeal to Hoosiers to do the right thing,” Holcomb said.

Holcomb says there will be exceptions made to the mandate for those with medical conditions, disabilities, during exercise, or while a person is eating or drinking.

State health officials have reported a fresh increase in Indiana’s hospitalizations for coronavirus infections, keeping that figure stubbornly higher than what it was weeks ago.

The number of people with COVID-19 being treated in Indiana’s intensive care units also has grown to about 50% more than earlier this month.

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