Gov. Eric Holcomb has apologized for failing to wear a mask on Saturday when he went to pick up takeout food and then stopped for a photo with two women in Nashville, Indiana.
One of the women posted the selfie photo—which appears to have been taken by the governor—on Facebook. The photo was tagged as having been taken at the Hobnob Corner restaurant.
That post led to criticism that Holcomb failed to maintain the six-foot barrier he has advocated for all Hoosiers, and did not wear a mask, which he has also encouraged others to do. In fact, both are included in Holcomb’s “Back on Track” plan he released on Friday that is aimed at reopening Indiana economy in a phased approach through July 4.
Holcomb issued a statement Sunday saying that he had spent the night in a residence the state maintains for the governor in Brown County.
“I ordered take out for dinner and ran in to pick it up, leaving my mask in the car. It was a lapse in my usual vigilance,” he said. “I should have gone back out to the car to get my mask.”
He apologized “to all the health care professionals and Hoosiers who are working so hard to slow the spread.”
And he said the incident has been “a timely reminder that even a six-second snap of a picture requires following the doctors’ recommendation to wear a mask while in public. Lesson learned.”
Democrats criticized Holcomb, saying on Twitter that other Hoosiers have “maintained social distance, limited travel and missed life events like birthdays. They’ve done it to keep the vulnerable and frontline workers safe. They have to follow the rules. Why doesn’t @govholcomb,” referring to his official Twitter handle.
Hoosiers have done their part. They’ve maintained social distance, limited travel and missed life events like birthdays.
They’ve done it to keep the vulnerable and frontline workers safe.
— Indiana Democrats (@INDems) May 3, 2020
Holcomb’s latest executive order allows retailers—including malls—to reopen at 50% capacity on Monday in all counties except three, including Marion County, that have higher numbers of cases. The order also allows all manufacturers to reopen as well as offices, although he encouraged companies to let employees work remotely whenever possible. Also, public libraries can reopen on Monday.
In addition, the order increases the number people allowed at social gatherings to 25, up from 10.