Indianapolis keeping mask mandate, virus precautions for now

Indianapolis is keeping its mask mandate and other coronavirus precautions in place for now despite Gov. Eric Holcomb’s decision this week to end Indiana’s statewide mask mandate in early April, Mayor Joe Hogsett announced Thursday.

Hogsett said it was too early for Marion County — Indiana’s most populous — to end its face mask mandate and business capacity restrictions, which he said would remain in place until the county’s public health order is lifted.

While the county’s virus positivity rate and other pandemic indicators have improved, he said “the threat of an uptick is not yet behind us.”

Hogsett also cited the many visitors converging on the Hoosier capital over the next two weeks for the NCAA basketball tournament.

“While I believe we can continue to handle these changing patterns safely we can only do so with the common sense approach that attracted the NCAA tournament to Indianapolis in the first place,” the Democratic mayor said. “Although the light is brighter, we are not out of the tunnel itself. Make no mistake, we have a ways to go.”

Holcomb announced Tuesday that he would lift the statewide mask mandate and remaining COVID-19 business restrictions starting April 6, noting Indiana’s steep declines in coronavirus hospitalization and deaths rates along with the growing number of people fully vaccinated.

But the Republican governor said local officials would still have the authority to impose tougher restrictions in response to COVID-19 cases in their communities.

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