INDIANAPOLIS Indiana’s statewide face mask order will remain in place for another month as Governor Eric Holcomb said Wednesday it was still needed to control the coronavirus spread.
Holcomb first issued the mask order last month because of a renewed growth in the number of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations across Indiana since he had started easing business and travel restrictions in early May.
The governor said he was also extending the state's limits on crowd sizes for restaurants, bars and public events. Those orders were all set to expire Wednesday unless the governor acted.
Holcomb said he was pleased the state’s rate of new coronavirus cases has been holding steady in recent weeks and “we don’t want that to trend up. We’d like to see it start to trend down.”
No penalties are included for violating Holcomb's order. It mandates masks by anyone ages eight and older in any indoor public or business areas and at outdoor public spaces when sufficient distancing can’t be maintained. It also requires masks in schools for grades three and above by students, teachers and other employees.
Holcomb acknowledged many residents aren’t following the order to wear face masks and said he would continue emphasizing education over penalties.
“There are some folks who don’t believe it helps,” Holcomb said. “I would disagree and offer science as the counterargument to that.”
Holcomb’s announcement means Indiana restaurants will continue to be allowed 75% capacity in their dining rooms, while bars, nightclubs, bowling alleys, museums and movie theaters can be open at half capacity. The state will also continue its current 250-person limit on social gatherings unless health officials have approved safety plans for those events.
Tom Davies of the Associated Press wrote this story