Following the lead of a number of other GOP governors, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) announced on Tuesday the end of the state’s mask mandate, but will extend the state health emergency through the end of April.
Beginning Apr. 6, the Indiana mask mandate will transition to a mask advisory. The governor reported the change during an online speech to update Hoosiers regarding the state’s COVID-19 plans.
“As always, local governments, businesses and other entities may impose more stringent guidelines, such as choosing to keep mask-wearing mandatory in their facilities,” he said. “They retain the authority to make decisions about COVID restrictions for their operations, and should be afforded the respect, compliance and understanding of all who visit them.”
Holcomb also added he personally plans to wear a mask during many public events. The governor noted, “When I visit my favorite restaurants or conduct a public event, I will continue to appropriately wear a mask. It’s the right thing to do.”
In addition to ending the mask mandate, Holcomb noted public schools will continue to require face coverings. The school requirement will extend through the end of the school year.
State government buildings will also continue to require face coverings at this time.
The announcement follows pandemic restriction rollbacks in other states. Texas, Mississippi and Connecticut have also recently ended mask mandates.
Many states are only now beginning to ease restrictions after a year of COVID-19 protocols. Only a few states, most notably Florida, have remained mostly open in defiance of the Biden administration’s recommendations.
Indiana adds itself to a growing number of primarily Republican led group of states that have reopened in 2021. With the exception of Connecticut, states ending mask mandates have been led by a Republican governor.