Indiana governor announces mask mandate starting July 27
Observer Staff Report | Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced in a coronavirus briefing Wednesday that he would sign an executive order making face coverings mandatory for the entire state beginning Monday, July 27.
“I know not everyone will be supportive of this mandate,” Holcomb said. “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.”
The mandate requires that people over the age of eight years old must wear masks or face coverings in all indoor public spaces, commercial entities or transportation services, including outside areas where physical distancing is not possible.
Some exceptions will be made for activities such as eating, drinking or exercising and for people with medical conditions preventing them from wearing a mask or face covering.
Holcomb said the mask mandate is necessary for Indiana to continue to reopen businesses and the economy safely without having to backtrack to stay-at-home orders.
“We don’t want to dial it back or put it in reverse or, as some are, shutting down again,” Holcomb said. “Face coverings can and will help us blunt this increase. It has in other places around the country and, indeed, around the world.”
Holcomb’s decision comes as school systems across the state are preparing to reopen for the academic year. In schools, masks will be required for students in third grade and above as well as all staff, faculty and volunteers.
Failure to wear a mask in compliance with the mandate will be classified a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. However, Holcomb said a “mask police” would not be in effect.