On Wednesday, July 22 Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced he was enacting a statewide mask mandate, to start on Monday, July 27.
Here's what you need to know about the mandate before you leave your home.
WHAT ARE THE RULES?
- Anyone 8 years or older in indoor public spaces, commercial entities or transportation services, or in outside public spaces when you cannot socially distance.
- Mask use in schools required for grades 3 and up, faculty and staff, volunteers and anyone else in schools
- Masks are also required for co-curricular and extracurricular activities, with exceptions for strenuous physical activity
- Exceptions will be made for medical purposes, strenuous physical activity, eating and drinking
- Masks are strongly recommended for ages 2-7
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON'T WEAR A MASK?
During Holcomb's original announcement, he said violators could face a misdemeanor charge. He added the “mask police will not be patrolling Hoosier streets.”
State Attorney General Curtis Hill issued a non-binding opinion saying Holcomb would be overstepping his authority and that only the Legislature could make violations a criminal offense.
On Friday, when the executive order was signed by the governor, the planned criminal penalty was dropped from the wording.
Many Wabash Valley law enforcement agencies shared their thoughts on enforcing the rule ahead of Holcomb signing the order on Friday.
The executive order shifted to education, instead of charges.
“State and local health departments shall be responsible for enforcing compliance through education about the importance of wearing face coverings and dispelling myths and misconceptions about the use and/or benefits for the requirement."
CAN A STORE OR RESTAURANT REFUSE SERVICE?
If you are not wearing a mask, and a store or restaurant says it requires customers to wear face coverings, they can absolutely refuse to let you shop or eat.
Vigo County Sheriff John Plasse had this to say about service; "Individual businesses or organizations reserve the right to deny entry or refuse service to an individual that refuses to wear a mask. Refusal to leave a business or organization when asked could be treated as criminal trespass with legal ramifications."
Most local law enforcement said something similar in their respective statements.
N95, CLOTH, OR SURGICAL MASK?
The Mayo Clinic has resources here that will help you select and then care for a face mask, including how to wash them. You might have heard about the N95, or the cloth or the surgical mask. This guide will help break down the differences.
LINK | MAYO CLINIC
- Wash or sanitize your hands before and after putting on and taking off your mask.
- Place your mask over your mouth and nose.
- Tie it behind your head or use ear loops and make sure it's snug.
- Don't touch your mask while wearing it.
- If you accidentally touch your mask, wash or sanitize your hands.
- If your mask becomes wet or dirty, switch to a clean one. Put the used mask in a sealable bag until you can wash it.
- Remove the mask by untying it or lifting off the ear loops without touching the front of the mask or your face.
- Wash your hands immediately after removing your mask.
- Regularly wash your mask with soap and water by hand or in the washing machine. It's fine to launder it with other clothes.
And, here are a few face mask precautions:
- Don't put masks on anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious or otherwise unable to remove the mask without help.
- Don't put masks on children under 2 years of age.
- Don't use face masks as a substitute for social distancing.