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LAPORTE COUNTY, Ind.–Anyone who is out in public in LaPorte County will have to wear a mask starting today.

The mask mandate was approved Wednesday by the LaPorte County Commissioners by a vote of 2-1.

It means you have to wear a mask while you are in an indoor area open to the public, including public transportation.

It also applies to public spaces outdoors where a distance of 6 feet cannot be maintained from individuals outside the person’s own household. The same applies to “private indoor or outdoor areas,” the mandate states.

Business owners are required to post the order at their entrances. They also have to require employees and visitors to wear masks.

The order will stay in place until the LaPorte County Local Health Officer rescinds it.

People exempt from mandate include:

-Children under age 2 due to suffocation risk

-Anyone with a physical disability that prevents easily wearing or removing the face covering

-Anyone with a hearing disability who needs to remove the covering to use facial and mouth movements for communication

-Anyone advised by a medical professional that wearing a covering may pose a health risk

-Anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance

-Anyone engaged in a work-related activity where a face covering would present a hazard recognized by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration

-Employees in a manufacturing work environment where management has determined high temperatures or concurrent use of coverings is impractical, unsafe or in cases where social distancing is in place

-Any individual whose religious beliefs prevents them from wearing a face-covering

-Any restaurant or bar customer while dining

Law enforcement will not be enforcing the order. On the LaPorte County website, it says the following:

“If you see someone without a face covering, assume they have a valid reason for not wearing one and increase your distance from that person. The most loving thing you can do for your community is to take care of yourself by wearing a face covering when out in public. We are all in this together.”

Anyone with questions should call the Health Department at 219-325-5563.