Determining factors included:
- Getting children back to school and keeping Indiana businesses open and operating
- Increase in COVID-19 positivity rate
- Additional counties seeing more cases
- Increase in number of Hoosiers hospitalized for COVID-19
- Increase in cases and positivity rates in neighboring states
Indiana Face Covering Mandate
The Indiana face covering mandate will apply to anyone 8 years old or older in indoor public spaces, commercial entities, transportation services and outdoor areas where social distancing is not possible.
Mask use in schools will be required for students in 3rd grade and up, as well as, faculty and staff, volunteers and anyone else in the schools. Masks will also be required for co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, as well as on the school bus.
Exemptions will be made for the following:
- Medical purposes
- Strenuous physical activity
- Eating and drinking
The Governor noted that he will not set a single start date for school but will leave that to the individual systems and counties. He is encouraging all to return back to the classroom setting as soon as they can.
Masks are strongly recommended, but not required, for children 2-7 years old. Dr. Weaver noted that studies are showing support for cloth masks in decreasing spread by 80%, along with good hand hygiene, social distancing, staying home when you’re sick and helping those at risk to stay safe.
Dr. Sullivan noted in addition to masks in schools, desks will face forward and seating will be assigned, proper distance between desks maintained, passing periods minimized, create student cohorts to contact trace more easily, no parties or events that congregate students. If someone is sick, they will be isolated and sent home. All must wear masks on bus. If someone is COVID-19 positive, anyone that spent more than 15 minutes within 6 feet of the positive person 48 hrs prior to symptoms, they will be required to quarantine 14 days. Siblings of those quarantined for positive students will also quarantine 14 days.
Violating the order could result in a Class B misdemeanor, which carries a potential 180-day jail sentence and a fine of up to $1,000. Holcomb made a point to say that the “mask police will not be patrolling Hoosier streets.”
There is no set expiration time for the mandate. Holcomb said it will continue as long as its needed.
See the full announcement from the Governor via the video below, or read more on the IN.gov news room.