All Hoosiers will have to wear a mask in public starting Monday, July 27, Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Wednesday.
Holcomb cited worrying COVID-19 trends, including an increase in the number of daily tests coming up positive and more people hospitalized for the virus, as reasons to impose the mask mandate.
“We want more Hoosiers to continue this trend of going back safely to work," Holcomb said. "We don’t want to dial it back or put it in reverse or, as some are, shutting down again.”
Democrats – including gubernatorial candidate Dr. Woody Myers – have called for a statewide mask mandate for weeks.
Not wearing a mask when required will be a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by fines of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail. However, Holcomb said the focus will be on spreading the message, not citations.
“The mask police will not be patrolling Hoosier streets,” Holcomb said.
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Mask wearing is not required for those with medical conditions that make it difficult to wear one or when exercising, eating or drinking.
Holcomb said he's waiting five days for the mandate to take effect to give people time to adjust.