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The Legal Brief

Indiana Governor Issues Executive Order Requiring Face Masks

July 27, 2020

By: Chad J. Sullivan

At 12:01 a.m. today, Governor Holcomb’s Executive Order requiring face coverings went into effect. The Order is in response to an increase in the number of cases and positivity rate of COVID-19 cases in Indiana. Specifically, the Order requires every individual within the State of Indiana to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth when:

  1. inside a business, public building, or other indoor place open to the public. This does not extend, however, to private offices, private workspaces or meetings in which six feet of social distancing can be achieved and maintained between people not in the same household;
  2. in an outdoor public space wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household; or
  3. using public transportation or while in a taxi, private car service, or ride-sharing vehicle.

A face covering is defined as a “cloth which covers the nose and mouth and is secured to the head with ties, straps, or loops over the ear or is simply wrapped around the lower face”.

The Order provides a number of exemptions. The following individuals, among others, are exempted from the Order:

  1. Children under 8
  2. Any person with a medical condition which prevents wearing a face covering
  3. Any person for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk at work as determined by government regulators or work safety guidelines
  4. Any person consuming food or drink
  5. Any person exercising or engaging in a sport and can maintain six feet of social distancing
  6. Any person engaged in a religious service and maintains social distance

The purpose of the Order is to protect the health and lives of Hoosiers, to allow businesses to stay open and for school to be able to reopen. State and local health departments shall be responsible for enforcement. The Order does not provide for criminal penalties or fines for failure to comply with the masking requirements. The Order shall stay in place for thirty (30) days.


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