Mask mandate in Marion County takes effect Thursday

Marion County’s mask mandate starts Thursday—and people who refuse to comply may be subject to a fine up to $1,000.

Last week, Mayor Joe Hogsett and Dr. Virginia Caine signed a public health order mandating the use of face masks beginning Thursday in Marion County to fight against the spread of COVOD-19. People will be required to wear masks when around others indoors, including inside workplaces where employees do not have their own offices. They won’t be required inside homes, but masks will be required outdoors when it is not possible to socially distance.

But the mandate won’t be enforced by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department since its a public health order. Rather, staff members of the health department will be enforcing the mandate. It’s unclear how many health department staff members will be part of the enforcement effort.

Rick Snyder, president of the Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police, said in a written statement that the order is not a policing matter. While the FOP is an organization representing local officers, Snyder does not represent IMPD.

“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,” he said. “While our officers strongly support voluntary prevention efforts for public health, this specific executive order and the enforceability of such measures are left for others to decide and take action.”

Aliya Wishner, chief communications officer for IMPD, said officers strongly support prevention efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19, and in accordance with the public health order, will wear masks indoors and in outdoor situations where they can’t social distance, though in some emergency situations, they may be delayed in putting their mask on if they have to prioritize addressing community members’ immediate needs.

The health department will likely seek a $1,000 fine for any violations that are filed with the court, Curt Brantingham, public information coordinator for the department, told IBJ.

The department will take an education-first approach to enforcing the mandate, he said.

“Enforcement measures are available, but the health department seeks first to gain compliance through education and information,” he said in an email.

Residents can make a complaint about individuals or businesses not adhering to the mandate by emailing or by calling the health department at 317-221-5500.

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18 thoughts on “Mask mandate in Marion County takes effect Thursday

  1. $1000 fine for non compliance. Anyone with half a brain could see this coming. Now fellow man will be pitted against each other in an additional way. Beware the facemask Gestapo

  2. Great job by the Mayor!! First, gives half-a$$ed support to downtown businesses trying to re-open by closing 3 streets, which then adversely affects other businesses, then second, provides no protection/response to the rioters that ransack, loot, and graffiti downtown, now comes back out of his bunker to mandate masks!! To be clear, I am not commenting on whether or not masks should be worn, I am commenting on the lack of response/leadership by the Mayor when it was needed, who now institutes a mandate that most wouldn’t disagree with. If I was a downtown business owner with means I would be looking to move out of Marion County as soon as possible.

    1. So … when the mayor does something, he’s doing the wrong thing, but when he does “nothing”, he’s also doing the wrong thing. At least he’s not in a no-win situation.

      I’m not the largest Hogsett fan, but I didn’t see anyone else as qualified in the last election, and I don’t see who the Marion County Republican Party has on the bench to run for office.

    2. Joe B., No, the point is to do something (ie lead) all the time! He did nothing during the riots/looting to protect downtown, and has really done nothing to get a recovery plan going since the riots, and now institutes a mandate, which is easy to be done with little or no backlash. If you lead or do something all the time, at least you can’t be accused of doing nothing, or hiding in a bunker as some have said of him. I agree with you that there were no other options last election, and doesn’t look like there will be in the future either, but it looks like Hogsett might have just given up.

    3. Hogsett can’t do much about two big issues:

      Downtown is dead in the water until people are comfortable going out, so (sadly) there’s no economic incentive for property owners to fix things up as opposed to waiting on insurance.

      You weren’t a fan of his effort to increase outdoor dining by closing streets, which was about the only option he’s got to help on that front.

      Plus, our downtown is heavily dependent on the convention business, which is also … dead in the water for at least another 12 months.

      Any money he’d spend now, outside of helping subsidize fixing windows, would be wasted.

  3. It sounds as if there is some disagreement between IMPD and the Mayor’s office over the mask mandate. I’m relieved to hear IMPD isn’t going to enforce the mandate since they clearly have bigger issues to deal with. What a mess.

  4. I hope people wearing masks will be respectful to people who are not and just leave them alone. You really don’t know why they are not wearing one. It could be social disobedience which is fine from what I’ve seen of late, but it could also be a health or disability reason. I’ll wear a mask even though I don’t feel like their needed at this point, but I won’t hassle anyone that’s not or give them dirty looks. Without enforcement it’s really just a strong recommendation and not a requirement anyway so be nice to people! We’ve had too much meanness and hatred lately on all sides.

    1. Sure, as soon as people who don’t want to wear masks respect establishments that require masking for admittance, as opposed to berating people and calling them “sheep”.

  5. The little tyrants like Hogsett are the litmus test on how far that can push their Socialist Marxism on the public before the public will rebel to protect their Constitutional Rights!!!

    It going to get ugly as we know it’s a big hoax and fraud as if so urgent, why did it take days for it to go into effect.

    I’m glad IMPD isn’t becoming the “mask police”.

    Hogsett should be ashamed of putting out police officers between a rock and a hard place with the people!

    Just wondering what worms with any authority they will have to make us wear a mask???

    1. Just a reminder that George Washington mandated his soldiers get the smallpox vaccine before they joined the Revolutionary Army.

      And during World War II, you were limited at how much food, gas, and other products you could buy.

      We are at war with a virus and our efforts should be directed at fighting the virus. We need wartime leadership that listens to science.

      Every other country in this world with effective leadership is beating the virus.

  6. I won’t be wearing any mask, and am prepared to pay such a fine many times over. But I will be open carrying arms I normally would leave at home.

  7. Joe B., For those under 70, the mortality rate is 0.04%, which is lower than the flu some years and the same in others, not to mention that COVID-19 is much less dangerous to children than the flu. This year, four times as many children have died of flu than COVID-19. Are we “in a war” with the flu virus too? The median age for death due to COVID-19 is 82. More people over 100 have died of it than under 30. Those who are in the vulnerable population (co-morbidities and the very old) need to take the actions they feel necessary to personally protect their health and the rest of the world needs to go back to living.

    1. We have treatments for the flu. We have vaccines for the flu. And, it’s pretty well understood after many years of study.

      COVID isn’t that way. It’s not just a “bad flu”. Witness the reports of people with lung scarring and suffering strokes or brain damage … we don’t have the clinical understanding of the virus. We know far more now than we did two months ago, and we’ll know way more two months from now. It’s called “science”.

      The rest of the world is getting back to living, because they listened to the scientists and did what was needed. They did a true lockdown, they did the testing and tracing. Now they’re getting back to live sports and people are going back to living. Sure, they’ll have flare-ups, but they’ve erected the infrastructure to hopefully manage them.

      Meanwhile, here in America, we have a bunch of politicians who decided they were smarter than the scientists. America is the hot spot for the virus – Florida, Arizona, South Carolina. Those who are “going back to living” are driving an unsustainable increase in virus cases. It’s out of control. What’s worse is, they saw what happened in New York and New Jersey and their response was … yeah, it won’t happen here. Our economy is in the tank, and it’s going to stay there because no one is comfortable going out.

      I’m all for opening up society and getting back to living. But it’s going to require mandatory masking, and some businesses simply aren’t going to be able to re-open until we make a serious effort at getting things back under control.

  8. Bernard hasn’t chimed in, but here we go again.

    Them: “You work in surgery! YOU of all people should be advocating for people to wear masks!”

    Me: Let’s break down a few key points.

    One, in the surgery setting we wear masks for a couple reasons, none of which have much of anything to do with preventing the spread of viruses. The first is to prevent bacteria particles from our own nose and mouth from entering into the patient’s surgical cavity. This is not because anyone is sick. This is because we all carry pathogenic material in our airways, that normally are a non-issue, but when a patient is in a compromised state from being given general anesthesia and having their body sliced open, they become more susceptible to these opportunistic microbes we all carry. The second purpose of the mask in surgery is to prevent exposure of the provider to the patient’s fluids and tissue. Interesting to note, in many countries the circulating nurse doesn’t wear a mask, only those hovering over the surgical site don PPE.

    Secondly, not all masks are created equal and most people have no idea which masks are for which circumstances, or that most masks provide little if any protection against viruses. The right mask worn incorrectly increases risk. The masks typically worn in the operating room are simply medical grade surgical masks, and are not recommended for use when the presence of small particulate or aerosolized pathogens are in play. They’re great for keeping the teams spit out of the patients incision while they communicate during surgery and prevent chunks of tissue and blood spatter from being on the inadvertent lunch menu, but aside from that they’re really just little humid breath collectors. Instances when one would don an N95 respirator would be things like a case with a TB positive patient. And we are fit tested for those and given a specific mask type to use in such cases. The fit test consists of putting a giant plastic box over your head and spraying an aerosolized compound into the container while you wait to determine if your mask fit is good based on whether you can taste/smell the spray. It’s a big ordeal and redone each year in most facilities. The hipsters with their beards and N95 masks are not helping themselves. And equally important is N95 masks do not stop the exhale, only the inhale is filtered.

    Last, in my 22 total years in healthcare, I have witnessed more improper use of PPE than I can quantify. I have seen seasoned medical professionals contaminate themselves and everything around them in a matter of seconds. Using equipment without the proper knowledge or training is a recipe for disaster and in this case, increased exposure. Unless you’ve thoroughly read through the literature and understand the approved uses, application and removal process, appropriate discarding protocols, etc you should probably just sit down and stop promoting inappropriate and unsafe mask use.

    So if you’re not planning on doing some surgery while you shop for groceries or take a walk in the park, your mask is really just serving to warm your face and harbor some of those germs you’re so terrified of right in front of your airway. And if you’re wearing a sock or underwear on your face or rocking a bandana like we’re in the wild west, you’re simply creating more laundry for yourself, but doing absolutely nothing to stop the spread of pathogens.

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