Marshall County mask mandate expires
MARSHALL COUNTY, Ind.--- Marshall County's mask mandate has expired alongside the statewide mandate becoming an advisory on Tuesday. Marshall County's COVID positivity rate is currently 2.3% according to the latest state health department numbers.
"We did not renew our emergency declaration a few weeks ago and we just continued on with Governor Holcomb’s executive order requirements and we will continue to follow his orders," said Lisa Letsinger, a Marshall County public health nurse.
Officials cite the county's low positivity rate and increasing vaccination rate as the main factors behind their decision not to extend the mandate.
"We’re pushing at almost 23% countywide for at least having a first dose," said Marshall County Public Health Nurse Sandy Dunfee. "We’re happy with those numbers and I think those over 60 have really helped us get to that point."
Business owners in Marshall County say they're relieved to be able to personally dictate whether or not their customers must wear masks.
"If they wish to wear a mask, that is their option," said Chris Curtis, Owner of Christos Family Dining in Plymouth. "As far as our help and employees are concerned, we ‘re going to continue wearing masks to make our customers feel a little bit more safe."
Curtis says he is frustrated, however, that there is little guidance being offered in terms of gathering capacity size.
'It’s made it difficult to have any kind of functions when you have larger numbers and there we serve a buffet and that’s been difficult that you can’t have a buffet," said Curtis.
Health officials and Curtis both agree though that the ending of the mask mandate means Marshall County is one step closer to pre-pandemic life.
"The guidelines are opening up a little bit and we’re about to have some parties that have higher numbers than we have been accustomed to and it’s going to give us a little bit more freedom and allowing us to accommodate our businesses," said Curtis.