INDIANAPOLIS -- Gov. Eric Holcomb on Wednesday joined a chorus of states, mandating Hoosiers wear masks starting Monday.
"The simple act of covering our faces...can help us prevent the transmission of the virus,” he said.
The mask mandate is for anyone 8 years of age or older in public indoor places; public transportation; and outdoor public spaces when it isn’t possible to socially distance.
Holcomb said face coverings can and will blunt the increases in novel coronavirus cases, noting it has worked elsewhere.
He added that the mandate is time-sensitive because schools are reopening. He said students shouldn't get mixed messages when they leave school.
The governor said in the last few weeks there has been a rise in COVID-19 positivity, from a low of 3.6% a month ago to a seven-day average rate of 7%. As a lagging indicator, hospitalization has increased from about 600 patients a day at the end of June to about 800 now.
Holcomb also said some counties that weren't even a blip before are now regularly reporting double-digit numbers of new cases.
He will sign a new executive order Thursday, but said there will be exceptions for medical reasons, eating and drinking and strenuous physical activity.
Indiana will become the 31st state to now require masks, including all surrounding states.