Holcomb to mandate mask use statewide

Editor’s note: This article has been updated.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on Wednesday said he would pass a statewide mask mandate because of a recent rise in the COVID-19 positivity rate.

The executive order will become effective on Monday, July 27, he said.

The order would apply to anyone 8 years and older in indoor public places or in outside public spaces when social distancing isn’t possible. The order also will apply to passengers in public transportation. taxis and ride-sharing services.

Mask use also will be required in schools in grades 3 and up.

“As we continue to monitor the data, we’ve seen a concerning change in some of our key health indicators,” Gov. Holcomb said in a press release Wednesday afternoon. “Hoosiers have worked hard to help reopen our state, and we want to remain open. By masking up, we can and will save lives and slow the spread of COVID-19.”

The governor said exceptions will be made for medical purposes, strenuous physical activity, eating and drinking. 

Holcomb’s office said the state will approach enforcement with an emphasis on education, but penalties can be levied under the authority of state law. Local governments may impose more restrictive guidelines.

Once signed, the executive order will be available here.

The move comes after Lake County, Indiana’s second largest county, issued a mask order, joining Marion County and multiple other Indiana cities and counties that have mandated the wearing of masks in public places.

It also comes as the Indiana Department of Health on Wednesday reported 763 new cases and 14 more deaths. The state is nearing 60,000 reported cases and at least 2,666 Hoosiers have died as a result of coronavirus.

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