Health

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said he’ll sign an executive order mandating all Indiana residents wear masks to help curtail the spread of the coronavirus. Kentucky has had a similar order in place since July 10.

During a press briefing Wednesday, Holcomb said he would sign the order Thursday, and it will take effect Monday. It applies to people age eight and older and there will be a few exceptions, including people who have medical issues, as well as when people are doing high-intensity exercise or are eating or drinking. 

Holcomb, a Republican, said there won’t be “mask police,” but it will be a class B misdemeanor if Hoosiers are caught violating the order. 

As he’s watched other states experiencing surges in cases, Holcomb also said he hopes the mask mandate will keep Indiana from getting to that point and avoid having to shut down any businesses again. 

The state reported 763 new cases on Wednesday and 14 new deaths.

“This is not about what I want to do or wish would be,” Holcomb said. “This is what the reality is… the sooner we get through the better it will because we were all in it together.”

The governor said the ordinance won’t go into effect till Monday because he wants to give people “time to adjust.” 

It will be in place “as long as we need to.”

“When we start to see the arrows that are going in the wrong direction, turn and start going in the right direction, then we can start to adjust our actions,” Holcomb said.

In regards to the misinformation circulating on social media about wearing masks, such as they lower a person’s oxygen levels, cause them to inhale toxins or might even make it more likely for them to catch the virus, Dr. Jennifer Sullivan, the state’s secretary of Family and Social Services dismissed those arguments.

“Some of the smartest people in the world wear masks all day for their jobs, so I wouldn’t worry about it,” Sullivan said.

 

Stephanie Wolf is WFPL's Arts Reporter.