Marion County now requires masks, moves to stage 4.5

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MARION COUNTY — Face coverings or masks are now required for every person who lives in or visits Marion County.

The county moved to stage 4.5 of the governor’s reopening plan as well.

“I understand people might have a disagreement on whether or not they feel comfortable wearing a mask. I think Marion County is doing an excellent job protecting themselves,” Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said.

“Schools are going to be starting. We may have increased travel from visitors from outside the state. This is a necessary intervention,” said Marion County Public Health Department Director Dr. Virginia Caine.

As other states take steps back in reopening, Indiana is slowing things down while still moving forward.

“When you look across the country, there are over 38 states that are showing a significantly increase in cases. Places like Texas had over 10,000 cases in one day,” Dr. Caine said.

Marion County joined the rest of the state at stage 4.5, but there are exceptions.

There will be no overnight camps, indoor visitation at nursing homes is still prohibited, and events for more than 1,000 people must get the county health department’s approval.

“This week, there will be 9,000 visitors from across the United States inside the Indiana Convention Center,” said Visit Indy Senior Vice President Chris Gahl.

This weekend, the convention center downtown is hosting a major basketball tournament, the first since closing in March due to COVID-19.

“The folks that are playing down at the convention have been tested for COVID-19 before we allowed them to play,” Dr. Caine explained.

Those attending the games must wear a mask too.

Dr. Caine said if someone is caught without a mask, they will get a warning and could eventually face a fine.

“They will have to go to court proceeding in order to get the fine. Our next fine is $50, following that is $500, and our final fine is $1,000,” Dr. Caine said.

If you would like to receive a free mask from the city, click here to sign up.

Dr. Caine said if the county starts to see less than 20 positive cases a day, they will stop requiring people to wear a mask.

FOX59 has received several questions about wearing a mask and carrying a concealed weapon.

In some states that’s illegal, but we found out that’s not the case in Indiana. 

“That law simply doesn’t exist in the state or at the federal level. A handful of other states, including Illinois and California and a couple more, have a statute like that,” Second Amendment attorney Guy A. Relford said.

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