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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: 751826

Reported Deaths: 13811
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1033581790
Lake557861011
Allen41721692
St. Joseph37001565
Hamilton36612417
Elkhart29416461
Tippecanoe22926227
Vanderburgh22559400
Porter19364326
Johnson18481389
Hendricks17692317
Clark13231195
Madison13166344
Vigo12629253
LaPorte12425221
Monroe12219176
Delaware10969198
Howard10343225
Kosciusko9636121
Hancock8578147
Bartholomew8172157
Warrick7862156
Floyd7814180
Grant7246179
Wayne7165201
Boone6976103
Morgan6764141
Dubois6222118
Marshall6211116
Cass6023110
Henry5903110
Dearborn589878
Noble581688
Jackson509476
Shelby502296
Lawrence4749122
Gibson445395
Clinton443255
Harrison441775
DeKalb440085
Montgomery438890
Whitley406643
Huntington403181
Steuben400559
Miami395669
Jasper388855
Knox377491
Putnam373461
Wabash362383
Ripley347370
Adams345555
Jefferson336186
White332453
Daviess3033100
Wells295381
Decatur289892
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey273835
LaGrange273172
Scott270156
Clay267148
Washington246236
Randolph245183
Jennings235349
Spencer234631
Starke228058
Fountain221448
Sullivan214643
Owen212258
Fulton203443
Jay201032
Carroll193820
Orange188255
Perry187237
Rush175926
Vermillion175144
Franklin170435
Tipton166646
Parke149616
Pike138334
Blackford136232
Pulaski120748
Newton114436
Brown104443
Benton102514
Crawford102516
Martin91815
Warren84015
Switzerland8158
Union72810
Ohio57911
Unassigned0424

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1109374

Reported Deaths: 20213
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1288561469
Cuyahoga1158492216
Hamilton814161251
Montgomery525741049
Summit484431006
Lucas43380824
Butler39066606
Stark33348930
Lorain25690506
Warren24607305
Mahoning22383602
Lake21216389
Clermont20133253
Delaware18873136
Licking16668225
Fairfield16582204
Trumbull16559483
Medina15615273
Greene15289248
Clark14240306
Wood13296200
Portage13251216
Allen11916239
Richland11610211
Miami10857225
Wayne9147225
Columbiana9038230
Muskingum8908135
Pickaway8663122
Tuscarawas8654251
Marion8646139
Erie8058165
Ashtabula7171179
Hancock6998133
Ross6946163
Geauga6843151
Scioto6536106
Belmont6159174
Union584849
Lawrence5739102
Jefferson5681159
Huron5550122
Sandusky5444126
Darke5420129
Seneca5350128
Washington5323109
Athens524360
Auglaize502287
Mercer487585
Shelby477095
Knox4573112
Madison444566
Ashland435897
Putnam4335104
Defiance432399
Fulton432174
Crawford4045110
Brown402561
Logan387678
Preble3858105
Clinton379166
Ottawa373581
Highland359966
Williams348478
Champaign344959
Guernsey325254
Jackson318354
Perry297350
Morrow291840
Fayette285550
Hardin275565
Henry273667
Holmes2703101
Coshocton269260
Van Wert247264
Adams243256
Pike242835
Gallia240850
Wyandot234756
Hocking220663
Carroll197448
Paulding176642
Meigs148540
Monroe136345
Noble136239
Harrison114138
Morgan110024
Vinton85717
Unassigned03
Fort Wayne
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Angola
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Huntington
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Decatur
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Van Wert
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Cool conditions are expected through the middle of the work week.
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