INDIANAPOLIS (AP): Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb is sticking by his decision to lift the statewide mask mandate next week amid concerns from health experts about more contagious coronavirus variants and a request from President Joe Biden for states to keep such rules in place.
Holcomb, a Republican, said Wednesday that he also had not heard from Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, since his comments Monday hoping that Holcomb would reconsider the dropping of Indiana’s mandate effective April 6th.
Holcomb said Beshear had his cellphone number and was welcome to call.
“I’m not looking to change my mind, but I’m happy to hear his reasoning behind his statement that he made,” Holcomb said. “My style has been to respect all other governors and the decisions that they have to make, according to the numbers and what’s happening on the ground in their states.”
Holcomb said about 18,000 Kentucky residents have received COVID-19 vaccination shots in Indiana and he understands that many people cross between the two states every day for work.
“I completely respect that, but I’m paying attention to the numbers in Indiana and what’s in the best interest of Hoosiers,” Holcomb said.
Beshear’s office didn’t have any immediate comment Wednesday.
Holcomb signed executive orders Wednesday that also end the statewide crowd size and other business restrictions meant to stem the coronavirus spread as of April 6 — the day after the NCAA men’s basketball tournament now being held in Indianapolis ends. He announced those changes last week.
Holcomb said he was confident that Indiana’s health care system had the capacity to care for COVID-19 patients and that the state could react effectively to the new spread of the coronavirus.