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Huntington allows police to enforce mask mandate with fines

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HUNTINGTON, Ind. (WPTA21) - Officials in Huntington are cracking down on people who aren't wearing masks while indoors.

Huntington Mayor Richard Strick signed an executive order that adds additional COVID-19 restrictions on top of statewide restrictions already in place.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb previously ordered all Hoosiers to mask up when social distancing isn't possible and while indoors. Holcomb's most recent executive order allowed local governments to impose additional restrictions.

These restrictions are tied to color-coded to Indiana's COVID-19 dashboard and will adjust as the threat increases and decreases.

The Indiana State Department of Health updates their color-coded COVID-19 threat risk weekly. ABC21 expects the state to update the map on Wednesday.

Huntington is currently in the orange zone, but the positivity rate is on the rise.

While in the orange, bars and restaurants may operate at 50 percent capacity. When in the red, they will reduce capacity to 25 percent.

No live music or karaoke will be allowed in bars while Huntington is in the orange or red stages, Strick said.

Strick also said he's leaving it up to the discretion of law enforcement in Huntington County to make sure folks are masking up.

He said police can fine individuals for not wearing masks. The fine starts at $25 and increases in $50 increments.

The Huntington County Health Department will be responsible for enforcing the state's mask order in businesses, Mayor Strick said.

In the first wave of the virus this spring and into the summer, the mayor said Huntington County came out relatively unscathed.

"Now, our hospitals are near the breaking point," Strick said.

"Our healthcare workers are tired and overworked."

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Kayla Crandall

Kayla Crandall is an Emmy award-winning journalist. She serves as the Social Media and Digital Content Manager at WPTA. Follow her on Twitter @KaylerJayne.

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