ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WPTA21) - Allen County and Fort Wayne will not enact stricter COVID-19 restrictions as statewide mandates ease up next week.
Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Matthew Sutter said he will not keep the mask mandate in place once it expires on April 6.
Dr. Sutter said masks will still be required in state buildings, in schools and at vaccination sites – but he will not expand that requirement to most public venues.
“I have the option to place a broad mandate for the county and I’m choosing not to do that today,” Sutter said in a news conference at Citizens Square on Thursday.
Sutter instead encouraged Allen County residents to continue behaviors practiced during the past year of the pandemic that works to prevent the spread of the virus including:
- Wearing a mask over their mouth and nose
- Keeping at least six feet distance from others and avoiding crowds
- Washing hands regularly with soap and water or using hand sanitizer when handwashing is not possible
- Staying home when sick
- Disinfecting and cleaning high-touch surfaces regularly
- Getting vaccinated as soon as possible
He added that his position would likely change if Allen County returns to the “orange” or “red” categories, based on state guidelines.
“If this virus has taught me anything, it’s that when I think I (understand) it… I don’t,” he said. “This is still a deadly virus.”
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb recently announced he would lift the statewide mask mandate on April 6. He said he's giving local governments the option to enact tougher restrictions.
In all Fort Wayne government and municipal buildings, staff and visitors will need to wear a mask until at least July 4, Mayor Tom Henry said.
Earlier this week, Huntington's mayor said businesses may return to full capacity in early April, and the locally enforced mask requirement will be lifted in late May.
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