Indiana Mask Mandate Lifted

Governor Eric Holcomb replaced Indiana’s mask mandate On Tuesday March 6th   with a mask advisory. Now local governments can decide whether they will lift or maintain restrictions. Both Monroe and Marion counties have decided to maintain the mask mandate until further notice.

This year we have seen a lot of information coming in about COVID-19 from countless sources. This overload of information has made it difficult to understand what is going on with the pandemic. IUPUI Associate Professor of Health Communication Katherine Head says now that the mandate is not statewide it will be a bit confusing for Hoosiers to know where they are required to wear masks.

“Now that we’re not at the state level we’re seeing those mask regulations and requirements at the local level in counties, businesses and schools. It’s going to be really important for those entities to have clear communication about what they expect from people who walk into their doors or who come into their counties because while some people may not want to wear a mask, I think there are some people who are fine wearing a mask they’re just not sure where they’re supposed to wear masks these days,” says Head.

Head says that these local entities need to be clear with regulations by posting signage and announcements on doors. Many health officials do believe that the ending of the statewide mask mandate was premature and that it needed to be kept in place till more Hoosiers had been vaccinated. Interim Director for the Center for Public Health Practice Andrea Janota believes there is still sometime before it will be truly safe to shed the masks.

“We certainly could try to guess and hope for certain times of this year. You know I would love to go back to the movies but until we have vaccines in arms and cases starting to really decline, we’re just not going to see that happening,” says Janota.

Health officials are struggling to determine when wearing a mask would no longer be necessary since there are so many factors at play. Every state around the country has different regulations and now it’s gotten down to every county has different regulations in Indiana so it will be more difficult to prevent the spread across borders. Monroe County did not want to end the mask mandate due to the fact that they’ve seen a rise in COVID cases the past few weeks. Officials have said that three million Hoosiers have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 1.2 million are fully vaccinated. They are hopeful that most of the population will choose to be vaccinated so that we can reach herd immunity.

While Governor Holcomb did end the statewide mask mandate, he did say that he will continue to wear a mask in public spaces and encouraged others to do the same. He also stated that face coverings will still be required in all state buildings and vaccination and covid testing sites. In addition, retailers and restaurants can legally require you to wear a mask or they can deny you service.