Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke said Tuesday that the City of Evansville planned to align itself with the latest guidance on face coverings issued by Governor Eric Holcomb.
According to Mayor Winnecke, Evansville, like the State of Indiana, will be under a mask advisory as of April 6 - not a mask mandate.
Mayor Winnecke said the decision to fall in line with the state's guidance was made after a week of discussion with the city's medical advisory group of the Reopen Evansville Task Force, as well as area businesses and others.
"It was agreed that the best course of action at this time is to follow the state's new guidance for face coverings," Mayor Winnecke stated on Tuesday.
The decision to change the mask mandate into an advisory was also made due to the number of vaccinations in Vanderburgh County, in addition to the March 31 vaccine eligibility of all Hoosiers age 16 and older.
"Almost 31% of our county residents have full or partial protection because of vaccines," Mayor Winnecke said Tuesday. "And tomorrow, any Indiana residents 16 or older will be eligible for the vaccine."
Masks will still be required in Evansville in some settings, like in hospitals or city-owned buildings.
"There will be a mask advisory and not mandate beginning April 6 with the exception of public buildings. City-owned facilities including the Civic Center will continue to have a mask mandate."
According to Mayor Winnecke, private businesses and other institutions will still be able to implement their own mask requirement, should they choose to do so.
"Even though it will be an advisory - a request - and not a mandate, I still think you'll see a lot of people wear them," Mayor Winnecke added. "It's about personal decisions and taking personal responsibility for the public health of their community."
"City government can't dictate every means by which we live," he continued. "But if the public understands all they have to do is continue to wear a mask and get a vaccination and our community's public health will be stronger - I think a lot of people will do it."