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Indiana Officials Defend Decision To End All COVID-19 Restrictions

Gov. Eric Holcomb announced in a statewide address he would rescind all statewide COVID-19 restrictions, effective April 6. (Courtesy of the governor's office)
Gov. Eric Holcomb announced in a statewide address he would rescind all statewide COVID-19 restrictions, effective April 6. (Courtesy of the governor's office)

Indiana officials Wednesday defended the decision to end all statewide COVID-19 restrictions, weeks or months before all Hoosiers will get a chance to get vaccinated.

The governor announced all COVID-19 restrictions will be repealed April 6. But officials said vaccine wait times could be six weeks or more once eligibility is opened to all next week.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said the science remains the same, whether the state has a mask mandate or a mask-wearing “advisory.”

“And we’ve been doing that for the most part across the state: wearing our masks to prevent the spread of this virus to other individuals and prevent ourselves from becoming infected,” Box said.

READ MORE: How Will Indiana Distribute COVID-19 Vaccines? Here's What You Need To Know

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Gov. Eric Holcomb said data – as it has throughout the pandemic – drove his latest decision.

“We have the resources to care for those who are in need – meaning ICU beds, doctors, etc.," Holcomb said. "We have a vaccine – three of them, as a matter of fact.”

Still, Holcomb said this is not a “mission accomplished” but a “proceed with caution” moment for the state.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.