Virginia Won’t Require Masks at Schools, Encourages Local Mask Rules

Little girl wearing pink mask, hair up in a braid, sitting at a table

Toward the end of the month, a state-imposed mask mandate at Virginia schools will no longer be enforced, but the state’s Department of Health is encouraging school divisions to create mask policies.

On July 25, the public health order forcing schools to require face coverings will expire and will not be renewed. However, the VDH issued guidelines that strongly recommend school divisions impose mask mandates for students, staff and teachers.

“Virginia has followed the science throughout this pandemic, and that’s what we continue to do,” Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement. “This guidance takes into consideration recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics, and will provide necessary flexibility for school divisions while ensuring a safe, healthy, and world-class learning environment for Virginia’s students. Again, I strongly urge every eligible Virginian to get vaccinated. Getting your shot will protect you, your family, and your community—and it is the only way we can beat this pandemic once and for all.”

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Virginia Department of Health Recommends Local School Districts Require Masks in Elementary Schools

New guidance from the Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Department of Education asks local divisions to implement their own mask guidelines based on the local COVID-19 environment.

The guidance doesn’t include mandatory policies for the whole Commonwealth, but does recommend requiring masks for everyone in elementary schools regardless of vaccination status until vaccines are available for children under 12. They also recommend that middle- and high-school staff and students should wear masks if not vaccinated.

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New Study Shows Masks Did Not Slow COVID Spread

Guy wearing a mask

According to a new study by University of Louisville the state mask mandates didn’t help slow the spread of COVID-19, Townhall reported.

The study found that “80% of US states mandated masks during the COVID-19 pandemic” and while “mandates induced greater mask compliance, [they] did not predict lower growth rates when community spread was low (minima) or high (maxima).” According to the report, the study used data from the CDC which covered multiple seasons and concluded that  “mask mandates and use are not associated with lower SARS-CoV-2 spread among US states.”

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Whitmer’s Administration Rescinds COVID Rule She Broke Days Earlier

Gov. Whitmer at restaurant with large group

Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration has rescinded the rule that Whitmer broke over the weekend.

Whitmer apologized Sunday after photos posted over the weekend showed her dining with at least a dozen others at The Landshark Bar & Grill in East Lansing, Michigan. Breitbart News first reported the news on Sunday.

Michigan’s May 15 order formerly mandated that no more than six people may be seated at the same table, and the governor has faced heavy criticism throughout the pandemic for strict COVID restrictions that have forced many Michigan restaurants and businesses to shutter their doors.

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Commentary: Military, Science, and the Law Are Losing the Trust of Middle America

two individuals holding an American flag on a bridge to honor Sun Prairie’s fallen firefighter as the procession passed underneath.

Americans mostly have given up on familiar institutions for entertainment, guidance, or reassurance. What now do Hollywood, network news, the media in general, Silicon Valley, the NBA, NFL, MLB, or higher education all have in common? 

A propensity to lecture Americans on their moral inferiorities, a general ethical decline in their own disciplines, and a strange obsession to acquire great wealth while living in contrast to what they advocate for others. Add also incompetence. Movies are mostly bad now. The network news is blow-dried groupthink. There is no “paper of record” anywhere. Twitter and Facebook no longer even try to hide their politicized contortions of warped rules and twisted protocols. 

Professional athletes are now reminders of why no one ever wants to be “enlightened” by multimillionaire quarter-educated narcissists. The public a half-century ago lost faith in academia. It wasn’t just that most new bad ideas could be traced to the campus or that hothouse professors increasingly seemed both ignorant and arrogant, but rather their product—educating students—was defective. No one believes anymore a BA is synonymous with knowledge. More likely, it is a euphemism for incurring $100,000 in debt. 

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Some Virginia Universities Ease Mask Mandate for Vaccinated Students, Faculty, Staff

College student walking on campus, wearing mask

Some Virginia universities have eased their mask mandates for those who have been fully vaccinated to follow more closely with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Universities that officially made mask changes for vaccinated people include the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Virginia Commonwealth University and Old Dominion University.

“Based on the advice of University medical experts, we are pleased to inform you that the University will follow the advice of the CDC and the Governor and update our policy so that UVA community members who are fully vaccinated can now safely forego masks both indoors and outdoors,” UVA President Jim Ryan said in a statement with other university leaders.

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Virginia Congressman Bob Good Fined $500 for Not Wearing a Mask in the House of Representatives

Congressman Bob Good (R-Virginia-05) is one of several Republican representatives who refused to wear a mask in the House this week, leading to warnings and fines.

“I’ve received a warning and a $500 fine for my effort to stand up against Speaker Pelosi’s anti-science rule, which is clearly just for political theater. Speaker Pelosi’s mask mandate on the House floor is not about science, it’s about control and virtue signaling for the TV cameras. This week, I stood my ground, and refused to dignify this ridiculous rule by continuing to comply,” Good said in a statement Thursday.

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Commentary: You Don’t Need a Permission Slip to Go Back to Normal

Group of people together socializing at dinner table

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control did an about-face, announcing that the fully vaccinated among us may resume normal activities. The news came more than a year after California initiated the first lockdown on March 19, 2020.

The CDC’s new posture comes with some narrow exceptions. If you’re traveling on a plane or find yourself in a homeless shelter or in a medical or correctional facility, you still need to wear a mask; and the CDC made sure to clarify, apparently out of great deference for federalism and Hayekian spontaneous order, that its guidance does not predominate over the requirements of federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

Before the CDC updated its pandemic guidance, this was exactly the position espoused by libertarian law professor Ilya Somin of George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia School of Law. Writing from his regular perch at the legal blog The Volokh Conspiracy, Somin’s argument is summarized nicely in the subheading of his piece, “Free the Vaccinated from COVID Restrictions”: “Doing so will protect constitutional rights, reduce vaccine hesitancy, and increase liberty—all at once.”

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Commentary: Montana Governor Strips Mask Fanatics of Their Power

Monanta Gov. Greg Gianforte

Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte of Montana delivered mask fanatics a hefty, but essential, blow last week when he signed House Bill 257 into law, stripping the few remaining left-leaning health departments in the state of their ability to use their clout and control to dominate the population through unquestioned mask enforcement. The bill declares that counties can no longer require businesses to enforce health mandates, such as mask-wearing or capacity limits and restrictions, or pursue other whimsical edicts or decrees, such as cancel farmer’s markets, prohibit school parades, ban families of spectators at high-school athletic events.

While most Montana counties and towns (including Billings, the largest city in the state with a population of approximately 110,000) removed their mask mandates several weeks, if not months, ago, the university-dominated cities of Missoula and Bozeman, as well as the small, politically mixed capital city of Helena, seemed to be only tightening the screws on chronic mask-wearing. They repeatedly hid, changed, or lied about the markers and metrics for mask mandates’ removal, inexplicably shifting from one theoretical possibility or scenario to another. In the meantime, COVID-19 vaccinations have increased to the point where testing sites and vaccination camps are virtually empty, hospitalizations have plummeted to nonexistent, and deaths from the virus have fallen to the level somewhere between venomous snake bites and automotive fatalities. Yet paradoxically, the healthier and the more strengthened the state, and the more that it has recovered from the numbing side effects of the shameful lockdowns, the further away the remaining mask-obsessed health departments have pushed the date of mask abolition.

Without House Bill 257, the remaining communities would have stayed perennially under the twisted, tight-fisted influence of a handful of marginally knowledgeable, power-intoxicated, unelected bureaucrats who were playing the “follow the Fauci” model of single-minded governance. Wear a mask. Wear a mask. Wear a mask. In fact, it would not be hard to imagine a scenario in which one government employee with a mask fetish would continue to bully the populace, terrorizing the summer camps into outside mask-wearing through the hottest days of August or perpetuating mask requirements for children straight into the fall of 2021 or beyond.

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At Least 40 Percent of NIAID and FDA Employees Have Not Been Vaccinated, According to Fauci and Marks

Doctor giving vaccination to patient

At least 40 percent of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) employees are refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine according to NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, and FDA official Dr. Peter Marks.

During a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing Tuesday on efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Richard Burr (R-Va.) asked Fauci, Marks, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky what percentage of their own employees were vaccinated.

Both Fauci and Marks estimated that a little more than half—perhaps around 60 percent of their employees—have been vaccinated. Walensky waffled, saying only that she was “encouraging employees to get vaccinated,” but couldn’t say how many have actually done so.

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CDC Tells Schools to Keep Students in Masks

Student on campus wearing a mask outside.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told schools nationwide on Saturday they should plan to keep students in masks because of the limited vaccinations of children.

“CDC recommends schools continue to use the current COVID-19 prevention strategies for the 2020-2021 school year,” the agency said in new guidance for students issued just days after it cleared vaccinated adults to ditch their masks in most instances.

“All schools should implement and layer prevention strategies and should prioritize universal and correct use of masks and physical distancing,” it added.

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Commentary: After Wrecking The Economy, Northam Finally Lifts (Most) COVID Restrictions

One thing proved certain.

When the nation’s only doctor cum governor was thrust into greatness, Northam had a chance to be a physician.

Instead, Northam was every bit the live-birth abortionist he advertised being long before his blackface scandal.

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Dozens of House GOP Reps Urge Pelosi to Drop Masking Rules Following Revised CDC Guidance

Nearly three dozen House GOP representatives this week urged Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to formally drop the House’s strict mask mandate, citing recently updated masking guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the Friday letter, issued from the office of Ohio Rep. Bob Gibbs, 34 Republicans “urge[d] [Pelosi] to immediately return to normal voting procedures and end mandatory mask requirements in the House of Representatives.”

“CDC guidance states fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting except where required by governmental or workplace mandate,” the letter declares. “It is time to update our own workplace regulations. Every member of Congress has had the opportunity to be vaccinated, and you have indicated about 75 percent have taken advantage of this opportunity.”

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Over a Year into the Pandemic, Politicians Are Still Getting Caught Ignoring Their Own COVID Restrictions

Mask with smartphone that reads "COVID-19"

Many lawmakers who have ordered or urged citizens not to leave their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic have not followed their own advice.

The Daily Caller News Foundation has kept track of those politicians or local lawmakers who spurned their own COVID-19 rules to attend President Joe Biden’s inauguration and the lawmakers who flouted their own advice and then excused their behavior as essential, compiling lists of the biggest offenders such as Democrats New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and many more.

The DCNF searched for, but did not find, examples of prominent Republicans who urged citizens to stay home due to COVID-19 and then did not follow their own advice. Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, for example, sparked a backlash when he traveled to Cancun in February as Texans struggled without power under heavy ice storms.

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‘Too Risky’: Progressives Are Upset CDC Lifted Mask Mandate

mask in persons hand

Progressives voiced their dismay following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated guidance that vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks indoors or outdoors.

Progressives and medical experts immediately criticized the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mask guidelines, arguing that the alteration was extreme and would be harmful to certain parts of the population. Others said the new guidance is confusing and disincentivizes people to get vaccinated.

“The CDC has done an about-face that’s shockingly abrupt: it’s confusing & could actually disincentivize vaccines,” Dr. Leana Wen, a George Washington University public health professor, tweeted after the announcement Thursday.

“Yes, vaccinated people are well-protected and not a threat to others,” she said in a later tweet. “But do we trust that the honor system—won’t unvaccinated people pretend to be vaccinated & stop wearing masks?”

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Fully-Vaccinated Virginians No Longer Need Masks in Most Settings

Fully-vaccinated Virginians no longer need to wear masks in most places, including indoors. On Friday, Governor Ralph Northam updated his mask mandate, effective Saturday, to align with new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance released Thursday.

“Virginians have been working hard, and we are seeing the results in our strong vaccine numbers and dramatically lowered case counts,” Northam said in his announcement.

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Virginia GOP Senators Tell Northam to End Mask Mandate

The Virginia Senate Republican Caucus issued a statement via Twitter on Friday urging Virginia Governor Ralph Northam to end the state-wide mask mandate.

The statement follows updated guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that allows vaccinated individuals to no longer wear a mask indoors.

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Virginia’s COVID-19 Case Numbers, Hospitalizations Down to Spring 2020 Levels

Virginia’s COVID-19 case numbers hit a new milestone on Monday: just 336 reported cases, according to the Virginia Department of Health; the last time numbers dropped below 400 was in June and April of 2020. According to the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, COVID-19 hospitalizations are low as well, with the seven-day moving average at 775 on Thursday; that number hasn’t been below 800 since late March 2020.

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More Americans Are Living Their Lives, Leaving Masks at Home, Survey Shows

Group of people sitting at public restaurant, eating.

A majority of Americans said for the first time in over a year that returning to their “normal” pre-pandemic lives did not pose a moderate or large health risk, an Axios/Ipsos survey shows.

The survey, released Tuesday, showed just 43% of Americans saying that returning to “normal” posed either a large or moderate risk to their health. It also shows that majorities of Americans have begun to enjoy several aspects of pre-pandemic life: 54% of Americans have eaten at a restaurant, 59% have visited family or friends and 31% have made summer plans – all in the past week alone.

The return to normalcy and the mental health benefits associated with it directly corresponds with the amount of Americans who say they have been vaccinated. Almost two-thirds of respondents say that they have received at least one shot, and 18% say that their emotional well-being has improved in the past week, which the survey notes is an all-time high during the pandemic.

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Commentary: Mask Mandates Promote Servitude, Not Safety

Man on escalator with mask on

The other day, for the first time since March 2020, I embarked on a journey outside of the slave state of California. My wife and I drove to Montana. While I had heard tales of the existence of freedom in other states, I had yet to experience the thing firsthand.

My experience in Montana confirmed what I have long suspected and known, but not witnessed or experienced for myself—that there are two Americas and two very different types of Americans. There are free states and slave states. There are fearful, obedient slaves, and fearless, free Americans.

I didn’t wear a mask for an entire weekend in Montana—not entering my hotel, not walking down the street, not entering a grocery store or gas station convenience store, not getting a coffee, and not entering numerous restaurants and bars. At no point did I put on that filthy face diaper. Nor did anyone else.

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Northam Expects to End Virginia’s Social Distancing Requirements in June

Governor Ralph Northam anticipates ending COVID-19 social distancing and capacity restrictions on June 15. In a Thursday briefing, Northam credited vaccinations with driving COVID-19 case numbers down.

“The data gives us a very clear message. The vaccines are working,” Northam said.

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Northam Announces Relaxed Guidelines for Social Gatherings, Sports, and Restaurants Effective in May

Citing increasing numbers of vaccinated Virginians, Governor Ralph Northam announced Thursday relaxed COVID-19 restrictions to take effect May 15. The new guidelines allow 100 people at indoor social events and 250 at outdoor gatherings, up from 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. Other restrictions at restaurants, entertainment, and sports venues are also relaxed.

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Wisconsin Supreme Court Strikes Down Mask Mandate by Democratic Governor Evers

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has struck down Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide mask mandate as a coronavirus health-safety measure.

In a 4-3 vote on Wednesday, the court decided Evers had violated state law by unilaterally issuing emergency orders to enforce the mandates without legislative approval, according to the Associated Press.

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Texas Coronavirus Cases Drop over Two Weeks After Restrictions, Mask Mandate Lifted

Covid cases are falling in Texas, over two weeks after Gov. Greg Abbott (R) lifted restrictions, including the statewide mask mandate, Breitbart reported. 

In March, Abbott announced the end of the statewide mask mandate, which had been in effect since July, and lifted restrictions allowing businesses to operate at 100 percent capacity.

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Judge Rules Gourmeltz Can Stay Open While Case Proceeds

Gourmeltz 90’s Music Bar & Drafthouse will stay open for now, after a judge denied a request for an emergency injunction to force the restaurant to close.

Even after being contacted by the health department officials, Gourmeltz owner Matt Strickland has refused to comply with some provisions of Governor Ralph Northam’s COVID-19 Executive Orders.As a result, Strickland’s health certification allowing him to operate legally was rescinded, but Gourmeltz remained open. The Attorney General’s office is now bringing a case against Strickland, but they asked the court for an emergency injunction to close the restaurant while the case proceeds.

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Psaki Defends Biden’s Neanderthal Comment

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday defended President Joe Biden’s comment that governors who stopped their state’s mask mandates were thinking like Neanderthals.

Biden was talking about “the behavior of a Neanderthal, just to be very clear,” Psaki said during the White House press briefing.

Psaki said Biden’s comments were “a reflection of his frustration and exasperation, which I think many American people have that for almost a year now.”

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National Park Service Requiring All Employees, Visitors to Wear Masks, in Line with Biden’s Federal Mask Mandate

The National Park Service (NPS) has implemented the federal mask mandate for all employees and visitors of national parks and facilities on Tuesday, the agency announced.

The NPS, which manages 423 properties across the country, is now in line with President Joe Biden’s executive order mandating masks on federal properties that he signed on Jan. 20, his first day in office. 

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Biden Family Violates Mask Mandate for Lincoln Memorial Photo Op

On the night of Inauguration Day, hours after President Joe Biden signed the mask mandate order, he, along with first lady Jill Biden, and members of their family visited the Lincoln Memorial where they took a photo as a group with masks, and one without, Breitbart reports.

Inside the Lincoln Memorial, the 46th President of the United States and the first lady posed for a maskless photo alongside some of their family members, Ashley Biden, her husband Howard Krein, and Biden’s grandchildren Naomi, 27, Finnegan, 20, Maisy, 19, and Natalie, 16, and Robert ‘Hunter’ Biden II, 14. Hunter Biden was not included.

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Nevada Governor Orders Indoor Mask Mandate, Limits Private Gatherings Ahead of Thanksgiving

Democratic Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak on Sunday strengthened the state’s mask mandate and limited attendees in private gatherings ahead of Thanksgiving.

Residents must wear face coverings whether gathering indoors or outside if any member that’s not in their household is present, according to a press release from the governor’s office. Private gatherings are limited to 10 people from a maximum of two separate households and public events will be capped at 50 people or 25% capacity, whichever is less, the order, which will last a total of three weeks, read.

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Northam Restricts Large Groups, Night Drinking, Expands Mask Mandate Ahead of Thanksgiving

Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced new coronavirus restrictions Friday, only a few weeks ahead of Thanksgiving.

“COVID-19 is surging across the country, and while cases are not rising in Virginia as rapidly as in some other states, I do not intend to wait until they are. We are acting now to prevent this health crisis from getting worse,” the governor said in a statement.

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Federal Prompts for Gov. Bill Lee to Issue Statewide Mask Mandate Begs Question of Who Is Behind the Idea

Tennessee is ranked fourth in the nation for COVID deaths per 100,000 people, WUOT reports, citing the White House Coronavirus Task Force’s red zone report, which calls for Gov. Bill Lee to implement a statewide mask mandate.

The controversial report is from earlier this month. The task force issues frequent red zone reports.

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CDC Report Indicates Masks May Increase Chance of Infection with COVID or Other Respiratory Illnesses

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report last month in which the nearly 71 percent of individuals infected with COVID-19 reported “always” wearing their mask. This opposed to the 4 percent of infected individuals who “never” wore masks.
The number of individuals infected with COVID-19 positively correlated with the consistency of mask-wearing. The report didn’t address the possible correlation between face mask hygiene and COVID-19 infection, such as proper handling and disposal of masks. It also didn’t differentiate the respondents’ mask types.

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Biden Flip-Flops on Proposed National Mask Mandate, Says It Would Be Unconstitutional

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Sunday walked back his pledge to impose a national mask mandate, admitting he wouldn’t be able to use the powers of the presidency to make face-coverings compulsory because that would actually be unconstitutional.

Biden was asked to respond to President Trump’s policy of giving more authority to the states during an interview with AZFamily’s “Politics Unplugged.”

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Joe Biden Calls for Nationwide Mask Mandate

Joe Biden is calling for a nationwide protective mask mandate, citing health experts’ predictions that it could save 40,000 lives from coronavirus over the next three months.

”Wearing the mask is less about you contracting the virus,” Biden said. “It’s about preventing other people from getting sick.”

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AG: Indiana Governor Doesn’t Have the Authority to Issue Mask Mandate

The state legislature, not the governor of Indiana, has the authority to require residents to wear a face covering in public, Attorney General Curtis Hill said in a new opinion.

Gov. Eric Holcomb is requiring that all state residents wear a mask or other face covering in public places effective Monday, July 27.

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