GOSHEN, Ind. --- Mask up, Hoosiers! Governor Eric Holcomb’s statewide mask mandate is now in effect.
Many Hoosiers are already challenging the order on day one, arguing that the choice should instead be their own.
“Is this still America? In America, I have the choice to decide for myself and for my family,” questioned Goshen resident, Lori Arnold.
Protesters held signs and cheered on Monday to push back against the government enforced statewide mask order.
“I feel like at this point, we should take the power back to the people,” Organizer, Chris May, said. “The government should get out of the way and let us work together on this.”
Many also took issue with the science behind mask wearing. State Representative, Curt Nisly, stating that the science just does not add up.
“We shouldn’t wear masks, they do more harm than good. That’s what the science was back then,” recalled Rep. Nisly. “Now, they’ve switched courses on that, but I haven’t seen any scientific evidence of it.”
Still, most people said that they are not against wearing a mask. In fact, that is the main reason why the group protested on Monday—so that all Hoosiers could make their own decision.
“Let the people decide, because when we have the mandate coming from the top at this point, what it does it is creating division within the community instead of going forward and empowering the people to make the decision on their own when the numbers favor us to do so,” May said.
May, the father of two young girls, said he is concerned that requiring masks in schools could put a strain on his children’s’ social skills.
“We need this out of our schools,” May said. “We need this out of our churches, we need this out of our businesses and let the businesses and the schools and the churches figure out how to move forward and then let the people decide who they want to support.”
With a long list of exemptions included in the mask order, protesters said it is unclear and can even discriminate against people with medical conditions not visible to the naked eye.
“And these people, they’re getting harassed, you know, there’s all kinds of things happening to them,” Arnold said. “It’s because they really can’t wear one, you know, and they’re being discriminated against now. I know I feel discriminated against just not because I won’t wear a mask, there’s places I can’t go.”
Rep. Nisly said that if the health of Hoosiers is really in jeopardy, it is time for Holcomb to take the steps towards making the mandate a law.
“If it’s so dangerous out here that we have to have the people of Indiana wearing masks, then he needs to call a special session and get us back there, and let’s make laws,” Rep. Nisly said. “Let’s get rid of this executive order stuff; this is not right.”
The statewide mask mandate went into effect on Monday, meaning face coverings are required in both indoor and outdoor public spaces when six feet of distance cannot be maintained for people ages eight and older.