INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis will remain under a mask mandate and other COVID-19 restrictions as city officials endorsed those measures after the state Legislature nullified such orders previously issued by county health officers.
The new state law that took effect immediately on Monday allows local COVID-19 restrictions tougher than those issued statewide only upon approval of elected county commissioners or city councils.
The Democratic-controlled Indianapolis council voted 19-5 along party lines Monday night to keep the mask mandate and rules that restrict restaurants to 75% indoor capacity and bars to 50% capacity.
Democratic council member Maggie Lewis said it was important for the council to support Marion County’s health officer as the expert on what precautions should be taken.
Republican legislators overrode a veto by GOP Gov. Eric Holcomb to enact the new law, arguing that it provides a “check and balance” protecting the rights of business owners.
Local elected officials must now endorse restrictions for other cities including South Bend, Elkhart and Bloomington that have been in place since Holcomb rescinded the statewide mask order in early April.
County commissioners in northern Indiana’s Elkhart County have said they don’t intend to endorse the tougher rules ordered by the county health officer.