INDIANA (Fort Wayne’s NBC) — The Executive Order mandating Hoosiers wear face masks in public has officially been signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb and no longer includes a criminal penalty for not complying.
Starting Monday, Hoosiers will be required to wear a mask while in most public spaces when it's not possible to socially distance.
A mask or other face covering may 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.
Students in grades 3 and up will be required to be a mask at school, along with teachers and staff, Holcomb said.
State and local health departments will be responsible for enforcing compliance through education about the importance of wearing face coverings.
Gov. Holcomb changed his stance on the punishment for not wearing a mask.
During Wednesday's announcement, the governor said not complying would be a class B misdemeanor offence.
Now, the executive order does not include criminal penalties.
Gov. Holcomb said he had to put the mask mandate in place because:
- An increase in overall hospitalizations from approximately 600 a day near the end of June to approximately 800 now
- The highest number of cases in a single day with 1,011 Hoosiers reported positive today
- A rise in COVID-19 positivity across the state from a low of 3.6% a month ago to nearly double that percentage now
- Some counties, which early on had minimal positive cases in some instances, now reporting regular double-digit positive case
The executive order will stay in place until at least Aug. 26.
Holcomb's office indicated local governments can impose more restrictive guidelines.
The order does offer some exemptions.
For example, children under 8 years of age, anyone who is incarcerated, people experiencing homelessness, people actively working out, and folks who are eating don't have to wear masks.
The order also gives broadcasters the ability to deliver the news without a mask on so long as social distancing can be maintained.
You can read the entire executive order here: