UPDATE: Holcomb to mandate mask usage statewide

A grouping of 3M N95 respirator masks. (Photo by Kristoffer Tripplaar/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on Wednesday said he would issue a statewide mask mandate because of a recent rise in the COVID-19 positivity rate.

The executive order would become effective on Monday, July 27, he said.

The order would apply to anyone 8 years and older in indoor public places commercial entitles, transportation services, or in outside public spaces when social distancing isn’t possible.

Mask use also will be required in schools in grades 3 and up. The school requirement applies to co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, with exceptions for strenuous physical activity.

The governor said exceptions will be made for medical purposes, strenuous physical activity, eating and drinking.

Holcomb acknowledge that not everyone will be supportive of the face covering mandate.

“This is nothing that I wanted to do,” Holcomb said. “This is not about what I want to do or wished would be. This is what the reality is. I would just ask people to recognize that the sooner that we get through this, the better.”

Indiana will join nearly 30 other states that have already mandated the use of masks, including Ohio, which announced its statewide requirement earlier Wednesday. Ohio’s mandate begins Thursday. Every other state surrounding Indiana has already issued a mask mandate.

Several locations in Indiana previously issued mask requirements, including Marion, Elkhart, LaGrange, Monroe and St. Joseph counties, plus the cities of Fishers, Evansville and West Lafayette. Local orders and school policies will be allowed to be more restrictive, a spokesperson for the governor confirmed to IBJ.

Not only are COVID-19 cases rising in Indiana, but hospitalizations are up. In addition, a larger percentage of those being tested are being found positive, the governor said.

Coronavirus hospitalizations jumped by 66 people, to 869, as of Tuesday—a figure that had plunged since peaking in mid-April but has curved back up since late June, according to the state health department. Indiana’s ICU cases for COVID-19 grew by 61 people, to 328, on Tuesday, up from the low-200s two weeks earlier.

Holcomb said was implementing the mask order because he wanted to avoid having to bring back business restrictions that have already been lifted, which is something other states have been forced to do.

“Face coverings can and will help us blunt this increase,” Holcomb said. “It has in other places.”

Holcomb mentioned seeing recent newspaper photos that showed large crowds of people not wearing masks.

“Pictures speak 1,000 words,” Holcomb said. “So, when you see those pictures aligned with the numbers, I’ve seen this movie before. I’ve seen it around the country. I know how it ends, and we’re trying to change the ending for real people.”

Holcomb said there won’t be any “mask police,” but violations will be considered a Class B misdemeanor, which can result in up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce said the mask order is “a necessary step at this time in continuing to reopen Indiana safely.”

“Too many Indiana companies, employees and their families are in their fifth month of financial turmoil,” Indiana Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kevin Brinegar said in a written statement. “That will not change and our economy will not be on the full road to recovery until some certainty is brought to this uncontrolled pandemic. The wearing of masks is a proven strategy for protecting others and enhancing our health–both physical and economic.”

Democrats, including gubernatorial candidate Woody Myers, have for weeks been urging Holcomb, a Republican, to issue a statewide mandate.

“Governor Eric Holcomb stalled for months, caving to the anti-science conservatives—taking action only when every single state surrounding us implemented a mask order,” Myers said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.


Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

53 thoughts on “UPDATE: Holcomb to mandate mask usage statewide

    1. Hey Holcomb- Where is the goal posts on masks and going to 5.0? If REAL cases go below 300 per day and REAL deaths go below 10 per day? Just tell us something. I’m dying to know when Big Brother is going to allow me to live my life.

    1. I would be happy to introduce you to four families, that I know of right off the top of my head, who have lost loved ones to this. Feel free to tell them it’s “useless.”

    2. Dina,,Next time you have surgery please ask the surgeon not to wear a mask and everyone in the OR to do the same as well. Let us know how that goes. Thanks and good luck !!!

    3. Hi Dina, John B has a habit of saying something witty but really proving your point. Since when do we need a sterile environment to live our normal, everyday lives? As long as our chances of dying were remote, we made a choice to live without a piece of cloth on our face. Why is COVID-19 any different? Is it because it has a fancy name and hyped by the media? It can’t be because of our risk of dying anymore. Maybe since it’s a Presidential election year, some people decide being stupid is worth it……at least until November.

  1. Avoids a shut down, keeps businesses and schools open, 5x more protection for contracting C19 and THE answer until widespread therapeutic, testing, vaccines available (likely late this year and next). Yes, it IS about time. And for those whose liberty or sensibilities are offended, too dang bad. We’ve had enough of the selfish, idiotic behavior for such a minor inconvenience. Extremists, left and right, have torn this country apart.

  2. And everyone who doesn’t want to wear a mask still has that right. Their problem is no store or restaurant or school or office will let them in without one.


    The rest of us are going to restart the economy while the no-mask people stay home.

  3. The subject is more about liberties and less about viruses. Viruses are a reality of life and will always be with us. The topic has migrated to how much governmental control we want/need in our life. Those of us with half a brain can look at the facts and decide for themselves the level of exposure they are willing to expose themselves too. I do not want our country that becomes a nanny state and controls our every move. Eyes to see and ears to hear can ascertain that this is an experiment on population control. And a fairly successful one thus far. No lemming here

    1. I don’t disagree, but it has become so politicized it’s probably time to separate the issues. Forcing me to wear a mask doesn’t exactly destroy my civil liberties, but it could be a step in the wrong direction if we allow these little things to add up. It would be easier if we could get solid data about the virus that doesn’t change every time a politician wants to make a point. Maybe it’s time to scream about getting reliable data instead of wearing masks.

    2. @Jeffery Those of you with half a brain are not deciding the level of exposure you are exposing yourself to – you are deciding the level of exposure you are exposing other people to…..

  4. Anyone who has been to a beach community has seen signs on shops saying “No shirt, no shoes, no service.” A simple dress code that was enforced by shop owners who did not want some people in their stores. If that sign said “No shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service” our President, in the full bloom of his ignorance, would Twitter rant about the Constitution, the one he has never read and does not understand. But people who care about their health and the health of others would comply without protest. How can a known public health issue become a divisive political issue?

    1. Start is next Monday. Stop date depends on the science, stats, treatments, vaccines, etc.

    1. @Horatio Still waiting on my $5k donation from you for the CNN Covid Fear Tracker being exterminated 7 days after a Biden victory and the virus that has killed 0.000352 Of 6.7mm Hoosiers to fade away with all the manufactured fear of media.

  5. All of you people who don’t want to wear a mask don’t need to. That is your choice to be an ignorant, selfish, “Fake news” follower. I suppose you get your facts from the President and his daily Twitter rants! I prefer to get mine from actual health providers. Data has shown that numbers have been rising slowly, and it is rising from the demographic of teenagers up to middle-aged “adults.” You could choose to act like an adult and set a good example for the children by wearing a mask. You have the right to set a good example and not be a jerk to others…that is your choice. In the end, it all flushes out. I hope karma is good for you.

    1. If you had the data from “actual health providers” you’d know this has been a huge lie. The CDC and google are not closed end blinded honest data. Good try!

  6. Any mention about what metric needs to be achieved to remove the face cloth mandate? This is a virus, so there won’t be a cure for a while and likely EVER. Are you really ok having the government mandate wearing a cloth on your face FOREVER, especially for a virus you can’t catch even if you wanted to? You trust your politicians and the media….right? They’ll tell us when it’s safe to throw that designer face cloth away…..right? This is a subject that even those smart doctors and scientist disagree over. You trust the ones that agree with you. How many people are testing positive even though they strap a piece of cloth on their face regularly? Are you assuming it’s only the non-mask wearers testing positive? They won’t share that statistic will they? Yet people can throw out stupid stats like face masks offer “5x more protection” when all these new, designer face coverings are different. Some are so porous you can drive a truck through the holes. Unless you mandate a SPECIFIC mask, you don’t know how effective it is. Businesses and jobs are likely now dying at a faster rate than people due to this virus. But hey, your job is safe so let’s force everyone to be an adult….right. Most people don’t like wearing a mask so they stay home….when people stay home, businesses die……when businesses die people lose jobs…..when people lose jobs they needs to rely on the government for money………aaaaah, the real reason for the mask mandate. Let’s hope all this stupidity ends by at least November 4th. I don’t need your protection. I’ll be just fine. If you’re worried about me being a carrier…..stay away from me. I may be selfish, but I’m not stupid. This has nothing to do with protecting people from dying anymore.

    1. Hey Charles Lets have some drinks,,plenty of them,, and go for a drive on 465 without seat belts on. We will warn everyone we are coming an then it is THEIR choice to get off 465 because they “don’t need …protection” from us. We may be selfish but hey,,,we have a happy buzz ., why should Big Brother tell us we can’t drink and drive and have to wear that uncomfortable seatbelt. Does this sound about right to you ??

    2. John B, everyone has a choice. Funny, you still elect to drive when you know someone on 465 has had a bit too much to drink. I don’t like wearing a seat belt and rarely do. I drive fast and haven’t killed anyone to date and I’ve been on this earth for a long time. You probably thought your little comeback was witty, but it just proves my point. People takes chances everyday (driving, viruses, airplanes, letting your dog out without a leash, swimming in the ocean with sharks……..) in spite of the dangers. What happened to us?

    3. Charles H. your comments are silly. You shift the blame for a drunk driving accideint on the innocent people who were on the same road you were on while drinking. Come on now. Also, three cheers for your lifetime of reckless driving without an accident. Look up the phrase anecdotal evidence. Swimming with sharks will ony harm you, not others in your community. You can’t string together a cogent argument.

  7. To the person or persons who agree with this statement:

    “The subject is more about liberties and less about viruses. Viruses are a reality of life and will always be with us. The topic has migrated to how much governmental control we want/need in our life. Those of us with half a brain can look at the facts and decide for themselves the level of exposure they are willing to expose themselves too. I do not want our country that becomes a nanny state and controls our every move. Eyes to see and ears to hear can ascertain that this is an experiment on population control. And a fairly successful one thus far. No lemming here”

    I say:
    Covid-19 is just like a cold or pimple: an every day occurrence which warrants little to no attention

    As it related to government control: don’t wear a shoulder harness; don’t require your passenger to wear same; and don’t worry about strapping your child in because you and I know they are safe so long as you are driving

    And when you are on your motorcycle, simply don’t wear a helmet or require your passenger to (as you both are sufficiently hard headed and don’t want your inability to make rational decisions to interfere with what you do, because as you point out, you do have “half a brain.”

    As for this being an experiment on population control, take that up with your spouse/significant other…unless the two of your are completely out of breath and unable to converse after limitless efforts to procreate.

    From this non-lemming to you, non-lemming, I wish you the best. and, I will be watching for the announcement of your invincibility and ground-breaking sensical/medical advice, and how it has saved the world.

  8. I don’t get it. The healthy are being put through the ringer for the sake of the sick. No, I don’t mean the susceptible but the truly ill. But it’s no different than so many other things I see where the innocent are punished for the sake and acts of criminals. If people would use common sense: If you’re sick, stay home or wear a mask if must go out. If you’re healthy and you’re willing to take the risk wear a mask or not when you’re out. I know people will say, “but you can be asymptomatic” … that is true, not only of COVID of hundreds of diseases that have nothing to do with inhale/exhale. Wash your hands, don’t cough or sneeze on people, use the brain that God gave you.

  9. Doesn’t matter whether your are Joe Hogsett a DEM or Eric Holcomb a REP; both cant think for themselves; both are lead around by the nose by the liberal elites who cannot even decide how to handle the situation themselves. Neither offer leadership and are d-bags; both should be recalled. If you are sick or you are at risk then wear a mask; if you are not you shouldn’t have to. What an absolute farse and lack of leadership. No wonder this country is heading towards 3rd world status; In past decades Hogsett and Holcomb couldn’t have been elected to a valet position. We have dumbed down our leaders to these guys. Hogsett has reduced Indianapolis to a 3rd rate city with the crime, homelessness, urine, feces all over the city and Holcomb looks to see what all the other Governors are doing, licks his finger, raises it in the air and then makes a decision. I would say both are pathetic but that disgraces the word pathetic.

    1. If you want to be mad at Holcomb, do it for not doing this 8 weeks ago when we could have run the virus into the ground … too much influence from the Hoosiers who are enabling Trump in his war against America.

  10. I am not sure how I feel to the successor to Dense Pence. If this was going to be done, it should have been weeks and months ago. Up and down the levels of government, the so-called leaders just suck.

  11. “The Indiana Chamber of Commerce said the mask order is “a necessary step at this time in continuing to reopen Indiana safely.” Wasn’t it the National Chamber of Commerce (parent of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce) who was behind the United States moving all the jobs from America to China? Now there is an organization you really want to follow and b cozy with. History certainly would indicate that THEY have American citizens best interests at heart. Lets follow them over another cliff. The “do-gooders”

  12. I will not wear a mask ,seatbelt,pay tax,obey stop signs,stoplights,polce,and drink all day before I pick up my kids from day care with my gun on my waist and shoulder and pants.

    These are my constitutional rights

    It’s all about ME…always

    1. We can’t have scientists be right about mask wearing, because then we might listen to them when it comes to vaccines or climate change. And that would threaten the money of some big companies, who sow false doubt that lots of people buy into. (Look at the litany of absolute nonsense in this thread and see the result of the attacks on the American education system. Keeping people uneducated means they can’t see this for the scam it is.)

      Folks in Germany used the advice of American scientists when coming up with what to do. Difference, is, their leadership did what the science told them to do … and we refused. So we will continue to suffer for a few more months while the rest of the world treats America like lepers and refuses us entry to their country. And they’ll shake their heads at us again when we go on about refusing to get a coronavirus vaccine shot because it’s made of “condensed chemtrails and Bill Gates and George Soros put a tracking device in the shot and I’m not going to be a sheep”… making our misery all the worse.

  13. So everyone is happy that we are making Billionaire Illinois Governor J.J.B Pritzker an even richer politician? The Pritzker family has financed LBP manufacturing, one of the largest global suppliers of Masks and other PPE.

    Pritzker has forced the people of Illinois to wear masks, supplied by LBP, netting him millions in profits. Pritzker had the chutzpah to charge the air freight bills to State of Illinois for delivery of LBP supplies.

    Mask mandate? Follow the money…

  14. Just another lemming leading a herd of lemmings. No independent thought anywhere in Indiana government. Has anyone driven through downtown Indy lately? Do you think this city will come back anytime soon? The state and cities and towns in Indiana (and many other states) are being stifled with debt and with no tax revenue (jobs, tourism, shopping, etc.). Who do you think is going to cover the costs? And if Sleepy Joe is elected, and as he has promised, reverses all of the tax cuts implemented by the Trump administration, and reverses the relaxed regulations, we will be heading into something very close to a depression. Exactly where the Dems want this country. There you go, folks. Talk amongst yourselves. LOL

  15. It’s just a mask? It’s just a vaccine?

    In 4 months, the U.S. transformed into an obedient socialist country. Government dictated what events are acceptable to attend. Violent protests that instill fear are OK but church services, family funerals and patriotic celebrations are dangerous. And you bought it without a fight.

    Standing in a graduation line is a “safety hazard”. Small businesses were forced to close but crowds to support the corporate money machine at WalMart, Lowes and Home Depot are OK.

    Come on. It’s “just a mask” & “safety precautions”.

    How about a little hush money. Here’s $2,400 that we stole out of your pay check in the first place. Enjoy. Buy something with it. From a big corporation.

    Cash is dirty. We can’t give change. Use your card. In 4 months, they convinced you to use a traceable card for everything.

    In less than 4 months, government closed public schools then “restructured” education under the guise of “public safety”. In less than 4 months, our government demonstrated how easily people assimilate to “guidelines” that have NO scientific premise whatsoever when you are fearful.

    In less than 4 months, our government successfully instilled fear in a majority of the population in America that allows them to control every aspect of your life. Including what you eat, where you go, who you see and your toilet paper.

    And the most dangerous and terrifying part? People are not afraid of the government who removed their freedom. They’re afraid of their neighbors, family and friends.

    And they hate those who won’t comply.

    It’s absolutely terrifying to me that so many people don’t question “authority”. They are willing to surrender their critical thinking skills and independence. They just… gave up without thinking. Without a fight.

    Do you know what’s coming next?
    “It’s just a vaccine. Come on. It’s for the greater good”.

    Wait until you’re told that you can’t enter any store or business without proof of the Covid-19 vaccine. Wait until you can’t go to public events or get on a plane without proof of receiving the vaccine.

    To everyone that doesn’t believe this is possible – DO YOU UNDERSTAND that government successfully dictated to people WHEN they were allowed to be outside, where they were allowed to go, and how their children would be educated in less than 4 months? And that a majority of the population followed blindly because they were told to do so.

    You’re kidding yourself if you think this behavior won’t be repeated with a vaccine. Or whatever the next step is.

    “I don’t follow politics.”
    “Who cares about that stuff?”
    “I don’t like to think about it.”

    They got you. Without a thought. Without a fight. Just like France. Just like Russia. Just like China. Welcome, comrade.

    1. The federal government is grabbing people off the streets of Portland and converting the DHS into Trump’s secret police. But you’re worried about masks and credit cards.

      Donald Trump and the Republican Party is perhaps the largest challenge that American democracy has ever faced. Because they know in a true democracy, they won’t win another election. Faced with that reality, they’d rather tear everything down.

      I remember when 2nd Amendment supporters told me that they needed all their guns to stop federal overreach. Yet I’m watching federal overreach and the only people standing up to stop it are moms.

  16. If we don’t wear masks the virus will get out of control like in FL, TX and AZ. Their hospital systems are over capacity. COVID isn’t like the flu. More people require hospitalization. Wearing a mask is wise and not very hard.

    Get with it sheep and stop politicizing mask wearing. If our orange face fake hair girdle wearing lift wearing dumb self centered narcissistic President would have taken the virus seriously instead of blowing it off and lying incessantly we would be like Europe where schools and businesses are open and the virus is under control.

  17. Maybe only those people with an IQ over 90 should be required to wear masks. That way all the idiots and foxnewsies in IN would get the virus and kick the bucket. Of course, that would only leave about two dozen people left in the state.

  18. My first comment is: anyone with an education level above grade 12, please step forward.
    Second comment is: Holcomb, a Trump/Pence sycophant, only imposed face mask after Trump indicated it might be patriotic. Way to be a leader Gov. Holcomb. Don’t upset your bosses in D.C.
    When was the last time you would ever consider having a surgical procedure with the nurses and doctors in the operating room not wearing masks.

{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining
{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining Article limit resets in {{ count_down }} days.