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Mask mandate causing controversy, local business owner voices his concerns

Mandates for face masks are causing controversy nationwide.

Posted: Jul 27, 2020 9:26 AM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI)- Mandates for face masks are causing controversy nationwide.

Some are for the masks... while others are against it.

The question that seems to circulate... does the mask really slow the spread of COVID-19?

Vigo County Health Department officials say yes, meanwhile a local business owner says the opposite.

News 10 reached out to Steve Ellis, the owner of Top Guns, after seeing his comments on social media voicing concerns with the new mandate.

His post refers to these types of comments:

"People are scared and as a result of their fear they're willing to give up their rights" and "You might agree with today's executive order, however, tomorrow's executive order may go against what you stand for."

Ellis also argues that it should be a decision for business owners on whether or not they want to participate in the mandate.

"As business owners, owners of property, we should have the right to say what will and will not be done on our property. Now, as a consumer, I believe the consumer has the right to decide whether they want to patronized and support that business," said Ellis.

Local law enforcement agencies also took to social media after Governor Eric Holcomb's announcement.

Several of the posts argued their stance on the mandate saying things like:

"We will not arrest someone for not wearing a mask" and "This is a police issue, not a public health issue."

Ellis thanked some of those agencies on Facebook for posting those clarifications.

"We have to hope that our law enforcement community is looking at any type of new law that's imposed and they do take it into consideration on whether or not they're violating a person's rights."

Late Friday, Governor Holcomb made changes to the mandate.

His office now says the executive order does not include criminal penalties.

Instead, health departments will be responsible for enforcing compliance through education.

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