Punishment for not wearing mask in Marion County, what to do if you spot others not following mandate

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INDIANAPOLIS — This is another reminder that starting on Thursday, July 9, everyone in Marion County over the age of 2 will need to wear a mask in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

That goes for anyone in public indoors or even outdoors where social distancing is not possible.

It also includes workspaces where people don’t have their own office.

You’re also asked to wear them in all stores and restaurants when you’re not eating.

You may be wondering, “What happens if I don’t wear a mask?”

People who do not follow the public health order could be fined up to $1,000. 

However,  Marion County Public Health Department Director Dr. Virginia Caine says officials will not rush to fine everyone without a face covering. She said they need to have a campaign to emphasize the benefits of wearing a face mask. 

“Education has to be our primary focus,” Caine said.

So what should you do if you spot other people not following the mask mandate?

The Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police wants to make it clear that you should not call law enforcement. 

“This is a public health order and as such is not a policing matter. Any concerns or complaints related to the wearing of masks should be directed to the Mayor’s Office and our partners in the Marion County Public Health Department for any enforcement needs,” the Indy FOP said.

During a news briefing Wednesday, Mayor Joe Hogsett addressed the mask issue and echoed Caine’s comments.

“We will be enforcing that with an education-first approach,” Hogsett said. “Gentle reminders to people, and I would encourage the community to participate in reminding our neighbors very gently that, to protect all of lives and to protect each other, wearing a mask is one thing that we can do to help our community endure and overcome the ravages of this pandemic.”

If there are repeat offenses or someone refuses to wear one, they should contact the Emergency Operations Center manager at Indy.gov. A public health official will then respond “however appropriately,” Hogsett said.

If you still need a mask, Marion County residents can apply for a free mask on the city’s website.

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