Masking Up

It’s not a mandate, but Hoosiers urged to cover their face

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During a lull in patrons at the Crawfordsville District Public Library, Megan Noggle wore a facemask as she wrapped a computer monitor in plastic covering.

Noggle said she began masking up when health officials recommended wearing face coverings to slow the spread of COVID-19, especially when she returned to work where employees are masked in public areas.

“It’s everyone’s choice whether they want to wear a mask. I just hope they’ll respect my space,” she said.

While Indiana has stopped short of a mandate, the state is putting more pressure on Hoosiers to cover their faces in public to keep others safe. A recently launched social media campaign features Gov. Eric Holcomb and other state officials explaining why they wear a mask.

Locally, the Montgomery County Health Department, through its partnership with Acuity Brands Lighting, has spread the message with advertisements and social media posts. Some local businesses are requiring masks.

A Pew Research Center poll conducted in June found that 65% of American adults have worn a mask in stores or other businesses all or most of the time in the past month.

A manager at a local pharmacy said masks were in high demand. Local crafters also remain on the job sewing the coverings.

Members of a group called MoCo POP (Protecting Our People) have turned out thousands of masks. Though a weekly drive-thru event ended last month, the group is still providing masks as needed.

Nonprofits or other organizations can send a message to facebook.com/mocopop for information about delivery and shipping.

“I have been still sewing masks for teachers and school staff and I will continue to sew as long as there is a need for them,” said Emily Watt, who recently took charge of the group.

Local schools will require face coverings when students and staff return this fall. Masks are expected to be required on school buses and in common areas, but not when students are seated at a desk in a classroom or at recess and lunch when social distancing will be observed.

No new COVID-19 cases were reported in Montgomery County on Wednesday, according to the health department. Nearly 300 total cases have been diagnosed since March and 20 deaths are blamed on the virus.

Statewide, a total of 455 new positive cases were reported, bringing the total to 49,063 since the first case was diagnosed, according to the Indiana State Department of Health. More than 2,500 Hoosiers have died from COVID-19.

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