INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Eric Holcomb on Sunday issued a mea culpa for ignoring his own lockdown and social distancing advice when he posed for a selfie – unmasked and with very little space between him and two Hoosiers – on Saturday.
“I spent the night at the Governor's residence in Brown County. I ordered take out for dinner and ran in to pick it up, leaving my mask in the car. It was a lapse in my usual vigilance. I should have gone back out to the car to get my mask,” he said in a written statement.
“My apologies to all the healthcare professionals and Hoosiers who are working so hard to slow the spread. This is been a timely reminder that even a six second snap of a picture requires following the doctors' recommendation to wear a mask while in public. Lesson learned.”
For six weeks, Holcomb has mandated that Hoosiers hunker down – to stay at home to slow the spread of COVID-19.
He has urged social distancing – at least 6 feet between people – and wearing a mask in public.
But on Saturday he traveled to a little-known state-owned cabin, Aynes House, in Brown County for a little rest and relaxation.
He ordered takeout from a Nashville restaurant and some Hoosiers spotted him and asked for a selfie.
The picture with two women surfaced Saturday night on social media and the governor apologized for his gaffe. The woman who posted the picture on Facebook didn't respond to several attempts to contact her.
Dr. Woody Myers – the Democrat challenging Holcomb for reelection this year – said “we are in the midst of a public health emergency of unprecedented importance and consequences – the Governor would set the best example by wearing a mask at all times and respecting the social distancing guidelines the CDC still recommends.”
Just Friday, Holcomb reminded Hoosiers that it is their actions that will determine whether Indiana gets back to normal anytime soon
“Making progress towards being fully back on track will require constant vigilance from all of us,” Holcomb said.
Aynes House dates to the late 1920s or early 1930s and became a state asset in 1939. It is one of only a few houses in Brown County State Park.
Brown County officials in April called on Holcomb to shut down state parks in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. In a letter sent to the governor, the county commissioners argued too many visitors from out-of-town were traveling to Brown County and disregarding guidelines on essential travel and social distancing.
Former Gov. Mike Pence and his family was the first since former Gov. Evan Bayh to make regular use of Aynes House, according to an Indianapolis Business Journal article. The five-bedroom cabin received $162,000 in major maintenance work, interior remodeling and new furnishings in 2013.