EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Mayor Lloyd Winnecke announced Friday an executive order is being drafted to establish a directive for city residents to wear face masks while in public spaces.
He says the directive is scheduled to go into effect starting on Wednesday, July 15.
“The recent spread of the virus in our community is dramatic,” Mayor Winnecke said. “Wearing face coverings is one easy way to stop the spread and avoid any more drastic actions.”
The mayor claims the details of the order will be released next week in advance of the start date, but said by and large, face coverings will be required in indoor public spaces. He said they will also strongly encourage businesses to also require them.
In addition, Winnecke says that masks will be required in public if social distancing is not an option.
“If you’re walking by yourself outside, you’re not going to have to have a mask,” Mayor Winnecke said. “If you’re walking with someone and you can’t be six feet apart, you have to have a mask.”
When it comes to enforcing the mask mandate, Winnecke states that law enforcement will not be directed from their duties - unless a public dispute takes place - and as of right now, fines are not being considered.
With schools reopening in just over three weeks, the mask mandate is one way government leaders can ensure a safe return to classrooms.
“Frankly, for those that don’t want to do this, my question to you is - If not this, then what?” Dr. David Smith, superintendent at Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation said. “Help me understand how we are to reverse the trend in increases in positive COVID-19 cases if we continue to do what we’ve done. The successful reopen of EVSC schools is going to be dependent upon the successful precautions that everyone in our community takes.”
We’re expecting to learn more about the city’s mask mandate sometime early this week.
You can watch Mayor Winnecke’s full Friday press conference in the video below: