Last week, Indiana's governor signed an executive order directing Hoosiers to wear face coverings, such as masks, in all public spaces where it's not possible to maintain 6 feet of social distancing. The face mask requirement takes effect today in all 92 counties of Indiana and every community across the state, and will remain in effect until August 26 to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19.
Indiana's governor said the requirement to cover one's mouth and nose in public applies to every person age 8 and older whether living in or visiting Indiana, and face coverings are recommended for children between ages 2 and 7. Face masks will also be mandatory in schools for students in third grade and above, all teachers, and other school building personnel and visitors.
The governor explained that a mask mandate, in addition to protecting Indiana residents' health amid the Coronavirus pandemic, will help ensure Indiana's economy can remain open, even as the COVID-19 case count and hospitalizations increase in the state and across the country.
Indiana's governor had originally said that individuals who fail or refuse to wear a mask in a public place where it is required could be charged with a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. However, just before signing the executive order, he changed his mind! He decided that state and local health departments will be charged with "enforcing compliance through education." Violators won't face jail time or a fine. The governor is hoping that Indiana residents will voluntarily comply with the requirement. So, it's a "mandate" with no consequences for those who choose not to comply.
Indiana's mask order comes after all of its neighboring states imposed similar mandates to wear face coverings in public places where social distancing is not possible.
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