Holcomb Reverses Course: No Penalty In Mask Mandate

Jul 24, 2020

Credit Justin Hicks/WVPE

Gov. Eric Holcomb reversed course Friday – the executive order establishing a statewide mask mandate will include no criminal penalty.

That comes after significant pressure over the mandate from some Republican lawmakers and local law enforcement officials.

Holcomb emphasized in his announcement Wednesday that the order wouldn’t focus on enforcement.

“The mask police will not be patrolling Hoosier streets,” Holcomb said.

But now, the police can’t be involved. State law says the penalty for violating provisions under an emergency declaration is a class B misdemeanor. But Holcomb’s mask order says only state and local health departments will enforce compliance, and only via education.

The executive order, which takes effect Monday, also carves out a significant exception for private offices and workspaces and at religious services, while observing social distancing.