The Republican governors of Indiana and Ohio on Wednesday announced statewide mask mandates a day after President Donald Trump threw his support behind facial coverings as a tactic to stop the spread of coronavirus.
More than half of U.S. states now have mask mandates in place, as top health officials plead for universal mask wearing amid a rise in coronavirus cases and deaths.
The order from Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio requires masks to be worn in all indoor public spaces, as well as when social distancing is not possible outdoors. The mandate goes into effect on Thursday and comes after DeWine had resisted instituting a mask-wearing requirement for the entire state.
In Indiana, Gov. Eric Holcomb announced he would sign an executive order on Thursday that would require masks inside and outside when individuals could not social-distance. Three weeks ago, Holcomb said he did not need to put a mask mandate in place because he trusted Hoosiers to do the right thing. Indiana’s mask mandate starts on Monday.
Holcomb apologized in May after he took a picture with two other people inside an Indiana restaurant without a mask on.
Last week, Republican governors in both Alabama and Arkansas announced mask mandates.
Gov. Tim Walz of Minnesota, a Democrat, also announced a statewide mask mandate on Wednesday that will take effect on Saturday.
The action at the state level comes as the president for the first time urged the public to wear facial coverings during a Tuesday evening news conference.
“Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact,” Trump said, offering his strongest support for the practice to date.
A recent POLITICO/Morning Consult poll found 72 percent of voters favor statewide mask mandates thanks to majority backing from Republicans, Democrats and independents.