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Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb's Mask Mandate Lacks Criminal Enforcement

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Faced with a surge in COVID-19 cases, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a mask-wearing mandate that lacks any criminal enforcement and remains in effect for 30 days.

Unlike his earlier stay at home orders under which violators could have faced a misdemanor or fine, this executive order leaves enforcement up to local health departments though education about the importance of wearing a mask to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The order goes into effect on Monday and lasts for 30 days, but can be extended or rescinded. The lack of criminal enforcement comes after Attorney General Curtis Hill raised questions about the legality of such a requirement. Originally, the order would have made a violation a misdemeanor.

The order says"every individual within the state of Indiana shall wear a face covering over the nose and mouth" inside a building that is open to the public, outdoor public spaces when social distancing is not possible, and while using public transit or rideshare services.

People who are working in a private office or attending a meeting do not have to wear a face covering if they can maintain six feet of social distancing.

Children under the age of two should never wear a mask. Children between the ages of 2-8 are exempt. There are exemptions for people who have medical conditions that make wearing a mask difficult.

The executive order's provision requiring people inside schools to wear masks does not expire. Students in kindergarten though second grade do not have to wear a face covering.  However, all students must wear a mask on the school bus.

Other exceptions include, giving a speech and sitting at a restaurant for a meal.


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