Indiana's statewide mask mandate will end Tuesday after Gov. Eric Holcomb announced he would change it to an advisory.
Under the advisory, localities and private businesses throughout the state will still be able to enforce their own mask mandates. Masks will still be required in K-12 schools, all state buildings and COVID-19 vaccine and testing sites.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear previously said he wished Holcomb would reconsider the move, saying Kentuckians would be more at-risk for COVID-19 if border states lifted their mask mandates. Holcomb, however, said he is not changing his mind.
"I have always taken the approach, my style has been to respect all other governors and the decisions they have to make," Holcomb said. "I am paying attention to the numbers in Indiana and what’s in the best interest of Hoosiers."
In the past 30 days, Indiana has seen more than 26,628 new cases of COVID-19 and 251 deaths. The state positivity rate for unique individuals is around 10.8%.
State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box has warned of increasing positivity and hospitalizations as more variants of COVID-19 appear. Indiana has opened all vaccine appointments to Hoosiers 16 and older, and Box said it is important every person who can get the shot does.
“We have said before we are in a race between the vaccine and the variants. Unfortunately, right now the variants are picking up steam,” Box said.
Holcomb advised all Hoosiers to continue practicing social distancing and other safety measures, saying he will continue to wear a mask during daily activities.
Several states — including Florida, Georgia and Tennessee — have lifted mask requirements. Beshear has not announced any plans to end Kentucky's mandate.