INDIANAPOLIS — The end of Indiana’s mask mandate doesn’t mean the end of masks.
While the state is still recommending masks, Governor Holcomb announced Tuesday they” no longer be required, starting April 6. But at least six counties, including Marion County, have their own mask orders, and businesses can still require them.
The Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association says most hotel chains have national mask policies, and many chain restaurants will require masks as part of their franchise agreements. President Patrick Tamm says a quick check-in with independent restaurants after Holcomb’s address found a mixed bag: some will ditch the masks, some will continue to require them, and some plan to require them for employees but not for customers.
Tamm says a bigger difference-maker for restaurants will be the end of state social-distancing requirements requiring tables to be six feet apart. Even though state capacity limits were lifted months ago, he says that’s effectively capped restaurants at half capacity. He predicts restaurants will jump at the chance to add tables again.
Tamm says caterers and event venues are particularly eager to see state gathering limits go away. He says many have been basically shut down, though a change earlier this year changed those limits from numerical caps to percentage limits, giving large event spaces some breathing room.
Tamm has praised Holcomb and health officials for consulting with businesses on restrictions, and for not doing what some states have, loosening restrictions only to reimpose them. He says that’s been more damaging than the initial closures. Tamm says he’s confident Indiana won’t find itself in that position, as vaccinations increase and limit the virus’s ability to spread.