Indiana governor imposing statewide face mask order

Gov. Eric Holcomb said his order will also require masks in schools for grades 3 and above by students, teachers and other employees, but that he would leave decisions on reopening schools to local officials.

Posted: Jul 23, 2020 6:36 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana will have a statewide face mask mandate starting next week, joining many other states in similar orders aimed at slowing the coronavirus spread, Gov. Eric Holcomb said Wednesday.

The Indiana order will take effect Monday and apply to anyone ages 8 and older in any indoor public or business areas and at outdoor public spaces when sufficient distancing can’t be maintained.

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AP FILE - In this Thursday, April 30, 2020 file photo, Gov. Eric Holcomb wears a mask in Kokomo, Ind.

Holcomb said his order will also require masks in schools for grades 3 and above by students, teachers and other employees, but that he would leave decisions on reopening schools to local officials.

The Republican governor had resisted a statewide order as similar mask mandates were imposed in recent weeks for a growing number of Indiana cities, including Indianapolis, Evansville, South Bend, Gary, Bloomington and West Lafayette.

All of Indiana’s neighboring states will also have mask mandates once one announced Wednesday by Ohio’s governor takes effect Thursday evening.

Holcomb said a renewed growth in the number of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations across Indiana necessitated the mask order after he had started easing business and travel restrictions in early May.

RELATED: Indiana Attorney General says lawmakers should decide mask penalties

“We want businesses to stay open, we want more Hoosiers to continue this trend of going back safely to work,” Holcomb said. “We don’t want to dial it back or put it in reverse or, as some are, shutting down again.”

The head of the state’s largest business organization called the mask mandate “a necessary step at this time in continuing to reopen Indiana safely.”

“Our economy will not be on the full road to recovery until some certainty is brought to this uncontrolled pandemic,” Indiana Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Brinegar said. “The wearing of masks is a proven strategy for protecting others and enhancing our health -- both physical and economic.”

Holcomb said widespread mask use will also help in school reopenings, saying “There is no more important task before us” than returning students to class.

“We’re asking our kids and their teachers to mask up and our kids should not be getting mixed messages throughout the day,” he said. “When they leave school grounds, they need to see that everyone is doing what they’re doing.”

Democratic governor candidate Woody Myers, a physician and former state health commissioner, called for a statewide mask order on July 1 and faulted Holcomb for not acting sooner.

“Governor Eric Holcomb stalled for months, caving to the anti-science conservatives -- taking action only when every single state surrounding us implemented a mask order,” Myers said in a statement.

Holcomb repeated his support for allowing fans to attend the rescheduled Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which released a safety plan Wednesday for the Aug. 23 race.

Coronavirus hospitalizations jumped by 66 people to 869 as of Tuesday — a figure that’s plunged since peaking in mid-April but has curved back up since late June, according to the state health department. Indiana’s ICU cases grew by 61 people to 328 on Tuesday, up from the low 200s two weeks earlier.

Health officials also reported 17 more deaths of people with confirmed or presumed COVID-19 infections, raising the state’s death toll to 2,863 since mid-March.

A couple hundred people attended a weekend protest at the Statehouse against mask mandates and other restrictions imposed since the coronavirus outbreak swept across the country in March.

Holcomb pointed to President Donald Trump’s description of mask wearing as “patriotic” this week in defending his decision. He also said while violating the mask order was potentially a misdemeanor crime, the “mask police will not be patrolling Hoosier streets.”

Holcomb urged an end to the “cavalier behavior” by many people of not wearing face coverings when in crowded places.

“This is nothing that I wanted to do,” he said. “This is not about what I want to do or wished would be. This is what the reality is.”

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 666516

Reported Deaths: 12726
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion912711659
Lake48687890
Allen36102644
Hamilton32445398
St. Joseph30306514
Elkhart25510420
Vanderburgh21326382
Tippecanoe20220205
Johnson16466363
Porter16068281
Hendricks15944302
Clark12060182
Madison11799323
Vigo11685234
Monroe10419164
Delaware9891179
LaPorte9831199
Howard9112201
Kosciusko8597111
Bartholomew7522147
Hancock7462134
Warrick7451153
Floyd7263173
Wayne6661192
Grant6462158
Boone616691
Morgan6129128
Dubois5936112
Dearborn551270
Cass5485100
Marshall5451105
Henry542995
Noble513178
Jackson465567
Shelby463391
Lawrence4195113
Gibson405185
Harrison403265
Clinton397553
Montgomery391684
DeKalb387478
Miami358263
Knox357885
Whitley351238
Huntington349477
Steuben340055
Putnam333960
Wabash333176
Ripley327962
Adams325449
Jasper319143
White298152
Jefferson296274
Daviess285996
Fayette272756
Decatur271688
Greene262680
Posey261432
Wells259075
Scott251850
LaGrange242470
Clay241644
Randolph226077
Spencer219430
Jennings216744
Washington213027
Sullivan203739
Fountain202842
Starke189951
Owen183654
Fulton179737
Jay178728
Carroll176919
Perry174036
Orange171451
Rush165622
Vermillion161543
Franklin159935
Tipton149541
Parke140216
Pike128533
Blackford120627
Pulaski107644
Newton96832
Brown95340
Benton92413
Crawford92213
Martin80314
Warren75914
Switzerland7558
Union67510
Ohio54211
Unassigned0427

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 977736

Reported Deaths: 17501
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1129551251
Cuyahoga968561881
Hamilton738821067
Montgomery47506923
Summit40668831
Butler35827531
Lucas35779720
Stark29581826
Warren22574275
Lorain22190424
Mahoning19578551
Lake18545332
Clermont18519205
Delaware16597121
Licking15089194
Fairfield14644188
Trumbull14423424
Greene13659221
Medina13517237
Clark12376256
Wood11656170
Portage11127172
Allen10820216
Richland10372188
Miami10059194
Muskingum8238117
Columbiana8168210
Pickaway8094111
Tuscarawas8075232
Marion8020127
Wayne7933199
Erie6961146
Ross6173132
Geauga6114142
Hancock6030121
Scioto600488
Ashtabula5998154
Lawrence527586
Union516341
Darke5052116
Belmont4999137
Huron4859108
Jefferson4836137
Sandusky4798112
Washington474396
Seneca4734111
Athens466149
Mercer459781
Auglaize456582
Shelby442679
Knox4054105
Putnam400593
Madison395455
Fulton383161
Ashland382683
Brown374852
Defiance373788
Crawford360098
Logan357373
Preble353987
Clinton342455
Highland328451
Ottawa325371
Williams303568
Jackson291846
Champaign290949
Guernsey288845
Perry271148
Fayette269943
Morrow261437
Henry247861
Hardin247359
Holmes244497
Coshocton240756
Van Wert230157
Gallia223938
Adams218239
Pike217228
Wyandot212450
Hocking195054
Carroll182143
Paulding161034
Meigs136031
Noble129233
Monroe117237
Morgan102120
Harrison100731
Vinton76613
Unassigned00
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