Mixed reaction to Indiana’s extended mask mandate


INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb is extending the statewide mask mandate for at least another 30 days.

It was originally scheduled to be lifted late Wednesday evening. Not everyone was on board with the extension.

Michele Isenhower has a love-hate relationship with masks.

“Over the last two months, that’s what is paying my bills, you know, I’m selling my masks $8 a piece,” said Isenhower, owner of Michele’s Boutique and Gifts.

On one hand, masks are her boutique’s most popular item right now. On the other, she thinks it’s hindering her ability to sell other items.

“If it’s required then we are wearing them, and it’s not an issue,” said Isenhower. “But I do feel there are way more advantages to not having the mask mandate because then I think customers will be more comfortable shopping in my store.”

“I can understand their frustration,” said Governor Holcomb. “I’d like it to go away as well.”

The governor said reality is that the state’s COVID-19 positivity rate isn’t where it needs to be.

“We want it bent down. We want to drive it down under five,” said Holcomb.

Back in July— the Retail Industry Leaders Association urged Governor Holcomb to implement this statewide mandate. The group said it was pleased to see it extended.

“What we found is that in states where this has been mandated is there’s a lot less confusion and there’s confrontation and anger,” said Jason Brewer, vice president of communications.

The Indiana Conservative Alliance has been against mask mandates from the start— believing it should be voluntary everywhere.

“It absolutely inhibits social interaction, it’s menacing,” said the group’s leader, Robert Hall.

Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said while it may not be ideal, it’s what we can do as Hoosiers to stop the spread until we have effective medications and or vaccines.

“We don’t have either right now,” said Dr. Box. “So, for right now, we have to deal with where we are.”

The terms and enforcement of the mask mandate are the same as before.

At this point, it will last 30 more days but could be extended again if we don’t see progress.

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