Indiana police departments say they will not enforce Gov. Eric Holcomb’s (R) executive order to make mask-wearing mandatory when it takes effect Monday.
Holcomb first introduced the mask requirement Wednesday, saying violations would be punished as a Class B misdemeanor, but after internal pressure from party members, Holcomb signed an executive order that would leave it up to state and local health departments to enforce the order instead, the Indianapolis Star reported.
Violators of the rule will not face fines or jail time, and state and local police departments say they will not enforce the order once it takes effect Monday.
“We really don’t have an active plan, I guess you could say, to actually enforce it,” said William Young, public information officer for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
“We are referring everybody that has a question about the mask mandate to the Fishers Health Department,” Fishers Police Department Sgt. Tom Weger said.
Some police departments are taking to social media to let community members know they do not plan to issue fines or citations for not wearing a mask.
“In accordance with the Order, the Brownsburg Police Department will not be enforcing violations of this matter and will continue to make referrals to the appropriate Government entities when said violations occur,” the Brownsburg Police Department wrote in a Facebook post.
The executive order requires all Indiana residents ages eight and up to wear a mask in indoor public spaces, outdoors when social distancing is not possible, and on public transportation. Masks are also required in schools for teachers, students in the third grade and above, and staff.
There are a few exemptions to the rule. A mask is not required when eating or drinking, participating in vigorous exercise, or for those who have a health condition that prohibits them from wearing a mask.
The order will be mandatory until August 26, but that could all change depending on the state’s coronavirus case numbers. The state has a total of 62,372 positive case numbers and 2,706 fatalities, according to the state health department’s data.