FLOYDS KNOBS, Ind. —
Indiana's statewide mask mandate ended Tuesday after Gov. Eric Holcomb announced it would change it to an advisory.
While the mandate expired, masks will still be required in K-12 schools, all state buildings and COVID-19 vaccine and testing sites. Holcomb also encouraged Hoosiers to continue wearing masks and practice social distancing.
Localities and private businesses will have the ability to keep their own mask requirements in place, but will they? That's the decision many places in southern Indiana had to make.
"We have made the decision to continue to require the masks," said Benjamin Byrne, co-owner of Dada's Boutique.
Byrne said his employees are young, and several were not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine until recently. To protect them, he said his business will continue requiring masks.
"It's not like we are intending to regulate people longer than necessary, we simply want to give the time for people who wish to be vaccinated, the amount of time to be vaccinated," Byrne said.
Enforcing masks might come at a price, though. Some Hoosiers said they might choose businesses without mask requirements over others.
"If I have a choice and I am going to get my nails done, and one place requires a mask, and one place doesn't, and I don't have a preference, I am going to the one that doesn't require a mask," said Jeni Roution of Floyds Knobs.
Roution said she always wore her mask in public, but decided she will no longer wear one after weighing the risks. She said will have one to wear if asked, but if she has the option to go somewhere without requirements, she will.
"I was just in Target today, and did not have a mask on, and no one was nasty, and no one asked me to wear a mask," Roution said. "But I had one in my purse had they had asked."
Byrne said the decision to continue the mandate was difficult, but he said he is hopeful people are respectful of his decision -- just like Roution.
"At the end of the day, we don't want anyone to feel uncomfortable," Byrne said. "We don't love the masks, I don't love wearing a mask every day but I'm also not going to jump the gun because I am uncomfortable."
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