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Some local businesses leaving face coverings up to customers after state order lifts

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Some local businesses began taking down their mask signs Tuesday after the state’s mask order was lifted, leaving the decision in the hands of local communities.

Crawfordsville and Montgomery County officials decided not to enact a local mask mandate or place limits on crowd sizes, but stressed that greater restrictions would be considered if deemed necessary based on local data or there’s a strain on the healthcare system.

Before lunchtime, more than a dozen shops, restaurants and offices downtown displayed signs indicating that masks were required or encouraged. A woman paused in the parking lot of a bank to mask up before walking inside. Some of the signs were gone by mid-afternoon.

At Stevenson’s Ace Hardware, the store’s mask order was still prominently displayed at the entrance, but they would soon be coming down.

Jack and Skylar Stevenson said while employees will continue wearing them, masks are no longer required for shoppers.

“We’re not going to say anything if they don’t have a mask on,” Jack Stevenson said.

Down the street at Simpler Times, owner Jackie McBride was also giving customers the option to mask up and said employees would wear face coverings during busy periods.

“This will probably always be up,” McBride said, pointing to the checkout shield barrier that she plans to get extended.

Masks are still required in schools through the end of the academic year, as well as COVID-19 vaccine and testing sites, including the Montgomery County Health Department offices. The Crawfordsville District Public Library was continuing its mask policy.

Grocery stores were also asking customers and employees to keep masking up. Kroger spokesman Eric Halvorson said store officials are reviewing the policy weekly. At Walmart, signs and banners reminding shoppers about the order remained in place.

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