(BLOOMINGTON) – All Monroe County businesses are now required to post signs in their storefronts asking patrons to wear face masks, according to a new local health order. The local health order will remain in effect until further notice.
The order, which took effect on July 3th, was issued after Gov. Eric Holcomb’s Back on Track Indiana plan, entering stage 4.5.
One exception from the governor’s plan locally is the requirement that businesses post at least an 8-by-10-inch sign at their main entrances requesting patrons to wear face coverings while on the premises by July 8.
According to a health department news release, this is to protect employees and other customers.
“We are monitoring the situation closely and carefully moving forward in lifting restrictions,” Monroe County Public Health Officer Thomas Sharp said in the release. “The only way that we can continue forward is for people to take personal responsibility for their health and others.”
Wall clings are available to local businesses and organizations. Those needing wall clings can contact Downtown Bloomington Inc. or the county commissioners’ office. Distribution of the window clings will also occur at the northern door of the Monroe County Courthouse from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, face coverings are recommended, especially when social distancing is difficult, to slow the spread of COVID-19.
In the absence of a mandate, local officials are still promoting that the public wear face coverings when adequate social distancing measures are not possible. In Bloomington a petition has been started urging officials to mandate the wearing of masks in all Bloomington businesses.
Currently, only four Indiana counties have mandated the wearing of masks. They are Marion, Elkhart, LaGrange, and St. Joseph.
Elected officials are not the only ones urging the consideration of making face coverings mandatory locally. A petition has been started urging the mayor to make masks required in all Bloomington businesses.
Julie Thomas, president of the Monroe County Board of Commissioners, and Mayor John Hamilton emphasized the importance of wearing masks and maintaining social distance to prevent the need for another shutdown, which would further damage the economy.
Governor Eric Holcomb said during his Wednesday press conference, “While most of our health indicators remain positive, our data indicate a need to be extra cautious, which is why we will pause much of our Back on Track roadmap. I urge Hoosiers to maintain vigilance in social distancing and wearing masks so we can continue to reopen our state for business.”
On Sunday, the Indiana State Health Department reported 48,008 Hoosiers have tested positive for COVID-19. As of Sunday, 2,500 Hoosiers have died from the virus. Another 193 probable deaths have been reported based on clinical diagnoses in patients for whom no positive test is on record.
As a result of the change, some of the following restrictions that will continue as part of Stage 4.5, which is set to last through at least July 17, include: restaurants continuing operations at up to 75% capacity as long as social distancing is observed; and bars, nightclubs, movie theaters, bowling alleys, cultural, entertainment and tourism sites may operate at 50% capacity and in adherence to social distancing guidelines.