West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis will require city employees, while near others, to wear masks in "public indoor settings" to help slow the spread of COVID-19, he announced today in an email. All visitors to city buildings will also have to wear masks.
"We're gonna start controlling what we can do in house," Dennis said. "It's always harder to go in reverse."
The mayor said he will follow recommendations from the CDC and the Tippecanoe County Health Department to stop the spread of the new Delta variant of COVID-19. The CDC recommends wearing masks in public indoor settings in areas of "substantial" or "high" COVID-19 transmission, regardless of vaccination status, according to the email.
Tippecanoe county reached "substantial" status after reaching a positivity rate of 6.5%, with a majority of infections in unvaccinated residents.
Dennis said if the cases get as bad as they have been in the past, he will go through the county health department to try and reinstate the mask mandate.
The new Delta variant now accounts for over 80.9% of cases in Indiana, skyrocketing from 48% just a month prior. In July, 28 Delta variant cases are confirmed every minute, making it 70% more infectious than the previous Alpha variant.
Dennis said the easiest way to avoid being infected is to get vaccinated.
"I don't understand the reluctance of some people to do that," he said.
Dennis didn't give a time frame for how long employees will wear masks, but said they will do so until cases are "under control."