LAPORTE COUNTY, Ind. (WLS) -- An order requiring residents in a northwest Indiana county to wear face coverings in public is hours away from taking effect.
LaPorte County officials issued the mandate on Wednesday. It begins Friday at 12:01 a.m., and will remain in effect until further review of the county's case, hospitalization and ICU bed availability data.
Under the new order, LaPorte County residents must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when in a public indoor area as well as any outdoor public area where 6-feet social distancing cannot be maintained. It also applies to public transportation as well as private indoor or outdoor areas where residents are unable to maintain 6 feet distancing with individuals from outside their households.
"We just have to think about ourselves and how our actions affect others around us," said resident Elizabeth Sullivan.
"Let's get rid of this virus as soon as we can," said resident Deanna Gonzales. "The only way we can do that is together by getting masks."
Children age 2 or under are not required to follow the order. Other exceptions acknowledge health-related risks, including individuals with a physical disability that prevents easily wearing or removing a face covering.
"These are people dying everyday, getting sick," Gonzales said. "Let's do it for those that have co-morbidities, those who have other issues."
For more information about the mandate, visit LaPorte County's website.
The order comes as Indiana's total COVID-19 cases surpassed 54,000 this week, including more than 2,600 deaths.
The state has already extended capacity limits for restaurant and bars for another two weeks due to the rise in coronavirus cases.