Indiana emerges today from the statewide COVID-19 mask mandate. But plenty of places in the Fort Wayne area – such as courts and museums – are still requiring the wearing of facial covering.
Gov. Eric Holcomb last week lifted the state's mask requirement in most settings, and Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Matthew Sutter declined to extend a general mask requirement countywide.
Sutter stressed facial coverings would still be required in city and county government buildings, and Megan Hubartt, department spokeswoman, said Monday that local health officials believe others should follow suit.
“We strongly encourage everyone to continue requiring masking in their businesses and facilities while vaccination efforts are still underway and COVID-19 continues to spread,” she said in a statement.
Parkview Health officials underscored that advice Monday.
“Parkview still strongly encourages the use of masks in public settings,” the statement said, adding that until more people are vaccinated, “masks are one of the best tools we have to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”
Lutheran Health Network and Matthew 25 officials issued similar statements.
Officials with Allen County Superior and Circuit courts emphasized Monday that facial coverings would still be required for anyone visiting court facilities, including litigants, attorneys and those called for jury service.
The rule applies to the Allen County Courthouse, Meeks Justice Center, the courthouse annex and Criminal Division Services; staff members also are to wear masks when outside their immediate personal workspace.
Other places still requiring masks are state offices, K-12 schools and COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites. Private businesses also may continue to require masks.
Some are in a bit of a quandary about allowable capacity in light of lifting the mask mandate, said Jessa Campbell, marketing and communications manager for Visit Fort Wayne. Officials at Thursday's news conference “didn't really talk about capacity limits,” she said.
Hubartt said there are no capacity limits under the governor's latest order. Local health officials “continue to recommend businesses and facilities follow precautionary guidelines like physical distancing, masking and sanitizing,” she said.
Randy Brown, executive vice president and general manager of Memorial Coliseum, said the venue will continue to require facial coverings but is leaving capacity limits up to individual groups using the building.
For Fort Wayne Komets hockey games, spectators have been assigned “pods” of related fans socially distanced from other fans, bringing capacity down from more than 10,000 to a little over 3,000, Brown said.
Coliseum officials are working with organizers of the upcoming Home and Garden Show and high school commencements on capacity requirements, Brown said.
The Fort Wayne Tin Caps minor league baseball teams will require masks for spectators at Parkview Field when the season opens May 4, President Mike Nutter said at last week's news conference. Fans are urged to physically distance themselves from people not members of their family units.
A statement from Embassy Theatre said that venue also would continue to require staff, volunteers and guests to wear face masks.
Science Central also isn't departing from its existing measures, said Martin Fisher, executive director. Mask-wearing is required for those over the age of 8.
The museum also issues timed tickets to a limit of 165 people per hour, has a one-way flow through the exhibits and requests visitors to practice social distancing, he said.
Indiana public health officials Monday announced an additional 762 people had tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the state's total confirmed cases to 691,625.
The state added one death to bring the total to 12,668 confirmed deaths, plus 407 deaths based on symptoms but without a positive test.
Allen County on Monday reported an additional 53 residents had tested positive, bringing the total to 38,266. No additional deaths were reported to add to the 663 previously reported.
At a Glance
Fully vaccinated residents
Source: Indiana State Department of Health