Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and Marion County Public Health Department (MCPHD) Director Dr. Virginia Caine gave free face coverings Thursday to families through a partnership with Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana.
The free face coverings were distributed in support of the county’s new public health order, requiring all individuals to wear face coverings in public.
Beginning July 9, masks must be worn in any indoor public spaces and any outdoor spaces where people cannot follow social distancing. The order applies to anyone over the age of 2.
Indianapolis joins three other counties in Indiana — La Grange, Elkhart and St. Joseph — in enacting a mask mandate.
Mayor Hogsett said that more than 400,000 face masks have been distributed in Marion County already. The face coverings were purchased with CARES Act funding.
MCPHD Director Dr. Virginia Caine said this new mandate is necessary to keep Indianapolis open.
“This is the next critical step for us,” Caine said. “We want to be the city that doesn’t have to reverse and go back to shelter in place.”
Although Marion County coronavirus numbers have not spiked again, Mayor Hogsett said the decision to require masks is important because the virus hit the county disproportionately.
“I think that Marion County is doing an excellent job of protecting itself,” Hogsett said.
Those who do not comply with the face mask mandate are subject to fines. Although Caine underlined the emphasis is on educating people about the health risks and why masks are beneficial.
Face masks are available for Marion County residents on indy.gov/masks.