Over Labor Day weekend, the Marion County Public Health Department issued a new emergency order to go into effect at the open of business on September 8, 2020 — immediately following a holiday weekend. The order, Public Health Order 29-2020, asserts that it is vital to mitigating the pandemic. Like Order 25-2020, issued on July 24, 2020, it requires all individuals to wear a mask or face covering with several exceptions. This includes children under age 2; individuals with speaking and hearing impairments; individuals with other physical, medical or health-related reasons; and individuals experiencing homelessness, among others. However, the new order states that “many individuals who cannot wear a mask for health reasons can wear a plastic face shield and must do so whenever possible.”
The second paragraph of the order states, “All businesses and public accommodations that are open to the public must ensure that all staff, customers and/or visitors are complying with the requirements.” It went on to say that “Businesses that fail to enforce compliance … are subject to enforcement action.” The new order is part of an ongoing campaign to clamp down against those who violate increasingly rigid mask mandates. This includes individuals with conditions that preclude them from wearing a mask and the businesses those individuals frequent.
Indiana businesses that have chosen to honor their patrons’ privacy rights and constitutional rights — and to uphold anti-discriminatory practices by accommodating patrons who cannot wear masks — are being sanctioned. Many have been investigated, fined and warned; others have been shut down.
If the hospitalization rates and fatalities attributed to COVID-19 are falling in Indiana, why are our public health orders becoming more invasive? Why are community officials spreading fear of a virus that is not deadly for the vast majority of people, especially when the pandemonia and fear can be deadly (as evidenced by an exponential increases in suicide and skyrocketing cases of stress-induced heart conditions).
Why are individuals and businesses being forced to subscribe to a measure that many scientists and doctors do not agree is beneficial to the public, especially when many scientists and doctors believe that the health emergency is over? To be doubling down on facial coverings and perpetuating extreme fear is unreasonable and an abuse of power. Why are public health officials misleading the population into thinking that masks will protect them when the best defense against a virus is to get healthy? Public health orders mandating that businesses must turn away patrons who cannot mask (or choose not to mask) are discriminatory and an abuse of power. Moreover, there is no evidence that masks or face shields slow the spread of the coronavirus in asymptomatic individuals.
Perpetuating extreme fear of infectious disease by implementing measures that restrict and ultimately upend our day-to-day lives is unnecessary and unconstitutional. Using fear to control a population is a gross abuse of power — an abuse that should never be allowed to happen again. Natural health measures such as vitamin D, vitamin C, proper nutrition, exercise, fresh air and healthy emotions are proven ways to support immune health, yet officials are forcing unproven measures such as social distancing, masks and face shields. Why aren’t public health officials promoting true health? Healthy people are at little to no risk, so why not engage in public education and outreach campaigns designed to get people healthy?
Marion County’s public health orders have been criticized because they conflict with OSHA guidelines, which give employers discretion whether employees wear face coverings. Additionally, health centers, nutritional stores, gyms and other wellness businesses say they are being censored because compulsory mask-wearing indoctrinates fear instead of empowering individuals to engage in practices that strengthen their immune systems. This ultimately limits diversity in messaging on how individuals are able to care for themselves while diminishing the importance of herd immunity levels that have been mounting over the past six months.
To advance public health we need free-market solutions with robust debate, not edicts from public health officers. We have not seen indisputable evidence that masks prevent or limit the spread of COVID-19. We have actually seen an increase in cases in cities like Miami and Hong Kong despite mask-wearing and mask mandates. The same is true for areas such as California, Hawaii, Israel, Japan and South Korea. Shouldn’t it be incumbent on officials to first prove that masks work before issuing edicts — and punishments for not following those edicts?
Mandatory mask policies should end immediately, and the stranglehold on citizens and businesses should be lifted. Please click below to email and call Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, Governor Holcomb, your Marion council members and your Indiana legislators. Let them know that Indiana residents demand better oversight of Marion County’s chief medical officer Dr. Virginia Caine and the emergency decrees she invokes. The chief medical officer is appointed and, as such, is not accountable to voters. This leaves her with unfettered powers and insulated from scrutiny. Public health officials have a duty to act reasonably and proportionately to all public health threats, especially a virus with an estimated 99.7% survival rate.
***When you “click to act,” you will be connected to your local councilor. However, please take the time to call the rest of the councilors below if you live, work or shop in Marion County. When they answer, ask them to institute better oversight of Marion County Public Health Department. Businesses should not be fined or closed for not complying with orders that 1) are not effective according to large numbers of doctors and 2) when many scientists and researchers believe that the health emergency is over. The virus has a 99.7% survival rate and the life cycle of the virus has leveled out.***
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