Gov. Eric Holcomb on Friday issued an executive order requiring the wearing of face coverings in public as Indiana coronavirus cases continue at near-record levels. The order does not include potential criminal penalties, which Attorney General Curtis Hill had said Holcomb lacked the authority to enforce.
“State and local health departments shall be responsible for enforcing compliance through education about the importance of wearing face coverings and dispelling myths and misconceptions about the use and/or the benefits of the requirement,” the executive order reads. “If the applicable data on the virus does not improve or continues to worsen in our State, there may be little choice but to reverse course and return to a prior stage in our reopening plan.”
Under the order, beginning Monday face coverings will be required:
- inside public buildings or indoor places open to the public;
- outdoors where social distancing is not possible;
- in public transportation, taxis or ride-sharing services;
- in schools for students in Grade 3 and above, and;
- on school buses.
The order makes exceptions for those with health conditions and for young children.
The order is effective through Aug. 26.
Holcomb announced earlier this week that he was set to impose a mandate, and those in violation risked being charged with a Class B misdemeanor. Hill responded with an official opinion that said Holcomb lacked authority to enforce such provisions.