Governor mandates wearing masks

Indiana joined surrounding states Kentucky, Illinois and Michigan in the mandating of state-wide face coverings. On Thursday, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed the executive order requiring face coverings be worn in public when social distancing is not possible. The mandate went into effect Monday, July 27.
This decision comes on the heals of an increase in positive cases within the state and in ajoining states. In addition, there has been an increase in the number of Hoosiers hospitalized with the coronavirus.
“By masking up, we can and will save lives and slow the spread of COVID-19,” Holcomb said. Masks can be factory-made, sewn by hand, or improvised from household items such as scarfs, bandanas and t-shirts. The mouth and nose should be covered.
According to the governor, it is also a step in the right direction to encourage our students, who will be going back to school soon, to wear masks. If they see the adults around them with masks, it will be viewed as more normal for them to wear them when they return to school.
All students in grades 3 and up will be required to mask up when they return to the classroom. Masks are strongly recommended for kids ages two to seven. All school faculty, staff and volunteers will be required to wear face coverings, also.
Exceptions to the mask mandate, as it pertains to schools, include strenuous physical activity incurred during co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, medical reasons and of course, eating and drinking.
As far as the public is concerned, masks will be required in the following situations:
• Public indoor spaces and commercial entities.
• While using public transportation or other vehicle services such as a taxi or ride share.
• Outdoor public spaces when it’s not possible to socially distance from people not in the same household.
There are also exceptions for the public, including medical purposes, disabilities, exercising and eating and drinking.
In addition to masks, hand washing and social distancing continue to be the best line of defense.
The mandate will be in force until the Governor and his task team see the numbers improve. “We want to continue to move in the right direction. When data shows improvements, that is when the masks will come down,” Holcomb said.
Individuals who choose not to follow the mandate can be charged with a class B misdemeanor, according to Gov. Holcomb.
The executive order can be viewed at https://www.in.gov/gov/2384.htm.

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