INDIANAPOLIS — Are mask mandates on or are they off?
On April 6, Indiana will end its statewide mask mandate. However, President Joe Biden on Monday asked all state and local leaders to keep their mandates in place.
“I’m reiterating my call for every governor, mayor and local leader to maintain and reinstate the mask mandate. Please, this is not politics,” asked Biden. “Mask up! It’s a patriotic duty. It’s the only way we get back to normal.”
In a statement, Governor Eric Holcomb’s office responded by saying: “The state continues to move ahead.”
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear is also urging Holcomb to reconsider.
“Now what I will say is Governor Holcomb has been flexible at different times,” said Governor Beshear. “So, my hope is he hears the president’s call and reconsiders.”
If the mandate is removed, then some health experts believe it will be extremely difficult to bring it back. Under the current plan, any mandates would fall to counties and businesses to enforce on their own.
“We saw that before the state started implementing individual mandates. It was up to some individual employers. We saw a lot of backlash against in employees working the front desk or the entrance,” detailed Shandy Dearth, director of undergraduate epidemiology at IUPUI’s Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health. “It’s not fair to put that on them. If we have one, unified voice across the country saying, ‘We are all going to do this mask mandate until COVID is over,’ then it is much easier to comply.”
Dearth says of the six million Hoosiers in the state, more than one million have been vaccinated. She expects Indiana won’t reach herd immunity until August or September.