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Kentucky governor calls on Holcomb to reconsider ending Indiana's mask mandate

Mandate becomes advisory on April 6
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Posted at 12:18 PM, Mar 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-30 12:53:38-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said he plans to ask Gov. Eric Holcomb to reconsider his decision to end Indiana's mask order.

Holcomb said last week Indiana's mask mandate will become an advisory on April 6. Beshear recently said he plans to extend Kentucky's order requiring face coverings through the end of April.

Beshear, a Democrat, said people who live in Kentucky are more at risk due to Tennessee not having a mask mandate, and he is concerned about the effects of Indiana's order ending.

"So my hope is he hears the president's call and reconsiders," Beshear said Monday at a news conference. "He's a reasonable person. We've had good conversations. This is one I hope he reconsiders and if I have the opportunity, I'll certainly ask him personally to reconsider."

On Monday, President Joe Biden called on states to reinstate mask mandates and hold off on reopening plans. In response to Biden's statement, a spokesperson for Holcomb told WRTV, "The state continues to move ahead."

While Indiana's mask mandate is set to end, counties around the state have the ability to enforce their own policies.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said last Thursday that Marion County's mask mandate and capacity restrictions will remain in effect until the county's public health order is lifted.

"We will continue to exercise the local authority granted to us by the state to keep Indianapolis on the right track because although the light is brighter, we are not out of the tunnel itself. Make no mistake, we have a ways to go," Hogsett said.

Marion County has required people to wear masks in public since July 9, while Indiana's order began July 27. Face coverings remain mandatory in all state buildings and facilities around Indiana, as well as in all vaccination and COVID-19 testing sites until further notice.

Johnson County officials told WRTV's Megan Sanctorum on Monday that they will stick with Holcomb's advisory.

“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.

Hamilton County plans to extend its mandate only in county government buildings, while Boone County leaders will discuss the matter this week.

As of Tuesday, 13,038 Hoosiers confirmed or presumed to have died with COVID-19 and 685,453 have tested positive. Indiana's 7-day positivity rate among all tests has increased from 3% on March 1 to 3.7% on Tuesday, according to Indiana State Department of Health statistics.

A total of 1,109,238 people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in Indiana.

RELATED | Marion County's mask mandate and capacity limits will remain in place | Counties consider keeping mask mandate after statewide mandate lifts