INDIANAPOLIS - There is no statewide mask mandate in Indiana and now state lawmakers voted to take away the power of local health departments when it comes to issuing public orders, like COVID-19 restrictions.
Some Hammond residents welcome that news.
"They need to stuff the mask somewhere else and let everybody build up their immunity system," said Betty Toth.
Indiana lawmakers voted Monday to override Governor Eric Holcomb’s veto of Senate Bill 5 that would give local elected officials the power to determine public health orders during emergencies. What that means is that local health departments hoping to have stricter COVID-19 guidelines in the state would need approval from local governing bodies.
This could impact the Indy 500 scheduled for later this month, getting rid of all capacity and mask mandates. However, a council member in Indianapolis says they will vote to keep restrictions in place.
An easing of mask wearing indoors could be in the near future, with even Dr. Anthony Fauci saying so.
"We do need to start being liberal as we get more people vaccinated, as you get more people vaccinated the number of cases per day will absolutely go down." said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases.
Republican Governor Eric Holcomb vetoed the bill last week, saying local health departments should be able to act swiftly in case of an emergency rather than going through elected officials.