Counties consider keeping mask mandate after statewide mandate lifts

The mask mandate becomes an advisory on April 6
mask mandate johnson co
Posted at 4:46 PM, Mar 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-29 17:37:02-04

INDIANAPOLIS — We are just about a week away from the statewide mask mandate becoming a “mask advisory.”

That means masks will be recommended but they will not be required starting April 6. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said local governments and businesses can extend the mandate so there will still be times you’ll need your mask.

Requirements will vary from county to county and business to business.

In Marion County, health leaders have decided to extend the mandate, but in Johnson County, they’re sticking with Holcomb’s “advisory,” which means you are not required to wear a mask, but it is encouraged.

“I think that you have to be smart in the matter and if it is working and not really hurting to do so, or too much effort to put a mask on and still wear one, then we would absolutely encourage you to do that,” Betsy Swearingen, director of the Johnson County Health Department, said.

Local municipalities and businesses can extend the mandate if they wish. Individual businesses can also require them.

The manager at Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza in Greenwood said they’re not sure what they will do when it comes to potentially requiring masks on customers after the mandate is lifted.

“It's not a for sure call on that yet, but the staff will be required to wear masks at all times, we will still be making socially distanced tables and sanitizing all of our condiments and menus and keeping people safe that way,” Jack Clark, general manager at Jockamo in Greenwood, said.

All of those measures will be important as health leaders work to remind people that COVID-19 is still a threat to public safety.

“It's still out there, people are still sick, they're still catching COVID-19 at this point so it's better to be safe than sorry, but we're not gonna make you," Swearingen said. "We’re just going to ask you to do the right thing.”

While Holcomb is making the mask mandate an advisory, he said he will still wear a mask in public, calling it the “right thing to do,” as he leaves the ultimate decisions in local and business control.

WRTV reached out to other counties in our area to see what they plan to do when the mandate is lifted.

Hamilton County is extending its mandate, but only in county government buildings.

Leaders in Boone County say they will be discussing it this week.

WRTV will let you know when we learn more.