Some Local Officials Unsure If And How To Enforce Indiana Statewide Mask Mandate

Jul 24, 2020

Credit (AP PHOTO/MICHAEL CONROY)

Face masks will be required throughout the entire state of Indiana starting Monday following an executive order signed by Governor Eric Holcomb. But some officials in northern Indiana are unsure how and if the mandate can be enforced.

Elkhart County Sheriff Jeff Siegal wrote in a Facebook comment Thursday that his officers will not be enforcing the mask order. He compared the statewide mask mandate to Elkhart’s existing mask mandate from the County Health officer - saying neither are enforceable.

Ray Schultz is the Executive Director for the St. Joseph County 911 Dispatch Center. He said there’s not enough guidance about how to enforce the mask mandate.

“We ask for people to be patient because if people start calling in a lot and reporting these when we don’t know a lot and don’t really know how it’s going to be enforced it could really bog down the system.”

South Bend Police Department Media Liaison Christine Karsten said the city’s officers will be enforcing the mask order on a case-by-case basis.

“With the number of calls that we already get and the resources we have here at the police department we are extremely busy as it is," she said. "So this is going to be pretty difficult to enforce. With that being said we’re also not saying that it’s not ever going to be enforced.”

Not wearing a face mask in public will be a Class B misdemeanor and violators could face fines up to $1,000 or six months in jail.

When the governor announced the mandate he said, "The mask police will not be patrolling Hoosier streets." 

Contact Annacaroline at acaruso@wvpe.org or follow her on Twitter at @AnnacarolineC16 

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