By Liz Shepherd
INDIANAPOLIS — Governor Eric Holcomb’s executive order regarding the state of Indiana’s mask mandate lists exemptions to wearing face coverings while in public.
The directive becomes effective at 12:01 a.m. Monday, July 27, and continues for a period of 30 days through Wednesday, Aug. 26, unless rescinded, modified or extended by Holcomb. Changes will be made based on the State of Indiana’s COVID-19 data.
The following people are exempt from this directive to wear a face covering but are strongly encouraged to do so if practicable and without undue risk:
- children under 2 years of age should not wear a face-covering because of the risk of suffocation;
- children who are over the age of 2 years and under the age of 8 years unless otherwise required by a directive;
- any person with a medical condition, mental health condition or disability which prevents wearing a face covering;
- any person who is deaf or hard of hearing, or communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication;
- any person for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines;
- any person while consuming food or drink, or is seated at a restaurant or other retail food establishment to eat or drink;
- any person while exercising or engaging in sports activity and who can maintain six feet of social distancing from other people not in the same household;
- any person who is in a swimming pool, lake or similar body of water and who can maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household;
- any person while driving alone or with passengers who are part of the same household as the driver;
- any person obtaining a service which requires temporary removal of the face-covering for security surveillance, screening, or a need for specific access to the face;
- any person, upon request, as part of a law enforcement investigatory stop or investigation or court-related proceeding;
- any person who is incarcerated;
- any person who is experiencing homelessness;
- any person while giving a speech for broadcast or to an audience if the person can maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household; and
- any person attending or engaged in a religious service as he or she must already maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household.
Determining factors for the mask mandate include getting children back to school and keeping Indiana businesses open and operating; an increase in COVID-19 positivity rate; an increase in the number of Hoosiers hospitalized for COVID-19; additional Indiana counties seeing more cases; and an increase in cases and positivity rates in neighboring states.
The mandate applies to anyone 8 years or older in indoor public spaces, commercial entities or transportation services, or in outside public spaces where social distancing isn’t possible. Mask use in schools is also required for grades 3 and up, as well as faculty, staff, volunteers and any other adults in the school buildings. Masks are also required for co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, with exceptions for strenuous physical activity.