Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) joined a growing list of state leaders announcing mandatory mask orders as a measure to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
The statewide order Holcomb signed on Wednesday will require residents wear a mask at all times in public indoor spaces, on public transportation and in outdoor public spaces where they can’t socially distance from people not within their household.
“As we continue to monitor the data, we’ve seen a concerning change in some of our key health indicators. Hoosiers have worked hard to help re-open our state & we want to remain open,” Holcomb tweeted Wednesday. “By masking up, we can & will save lives & slow the spread of #COVID19.”
Today, I announced I'll sign an executive order requiring Hoosiers to wear face coverings in most public settings, beginning Monday.— Governor Eric Holcomb (@GovHolcomb) July 22, 2020
The order is effective starting Monday, July 27, Holcomb said at a briefing.
Holcomb announced the order as the state reported 763 new cases and 14 new deaths, bringing the total to 58,673 cases and 2,666 deaths.
The order will apply to all residents ages eight and up, with exceptions for medical purposes and disabilities, as well as for when exercising, eating and drinking.
The order will also require face coverings in schools for students in the third grade and up, as well as for all faculty, staff, volunteers and anyone else in schools.
Holcomb said the state will approach enforcement of the requirement with an “emphasis on education,” but he said a penalty can be levied under the authority of state law. He said local governments may impose more restrictive guidelines.
A growing number of states, led by both Democrats and Republicans, have rolled out face covering requirements, including in Minnesota where Gov. Tim WalzTim WalzThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Biden calls for omicron concern, but not panic Minnesota governor announces positive COVID-19 test Politicians and celebrities who have tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the holidays MORE (D) also announced a statewide mask order on Wednesday.
Despite widespread recommendations from public health officials for people to wear masks as a way to mitigate the spread of the virus, there is no federal requirement in place and states are left to create their own rules.
Many states have face covering requirements in place, or have allowed localities to enforce their own, but in Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) has issued an order prohibiting localities from issuing such mandates and has filed a lawsuit against Atlanta lawmakers in an attempt to scrap the city’s ordinance.
Instead of issuing an order, Kemp has said he is “encouraging all Georgians” to wear face coverings.