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Monroe County Renews Mask Mandate, Gathering Sizes As Holcomb Lifts Statewide Restrictions

A man half-wearing a medical mask stands outside Menard's.

(Emma Atkinson, WFIU/WTIU News)

Monroe County will continue to enforce a mask mandate, gathering size restrictions and restaurant and bar regulations even as Indiana's statewide restrictions lift April 6.

Local health officials announced the departure from the statewide guidance Friday at the weekly City of Bloomington/Monroe County/IU COVID-19 briefing.

"Our numbers are not going in the direction we want them to, so we will not be lessening our local restrictions," said county health administrator, Penny Caudill.

Caudill cited that since the county reported a 0.4% seven-day COVID-19 positivity rate on March 10, that number has doubled to 0.8% on Friday. 

"We have done relatively well locally because because we’ve been focused on science and data and protecting health," said Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton. "It is not time to relax our guard and declare victory."

Indiana officials Wednesday defended the decision to end all statewide COVID-19 restrictions, weeks or months before all Hoosiers will get a chance to get vaccinated.

Still, the pandemic "is far from over," state Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said. Indiana records new cases of COVID-19 every day, she continued, and state health officials are “closely watching” variant strains of the virus.

Ethan Burks contributed to this story.

For the latest news and resources about COVID-19, bookmark our Coronavirus In Indiana page here.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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