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Feelings mixed as Indiana prepares to drop mask mandate today

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Posted at 5:00 PM, Apr 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-06 11:09:27-04

LAWRENCEBURG, Ind. — Starting Tuesday, Angelica Fideli's customers at State Line Restaurant on U.S. 50 will no longer be subject to the same masking and social distancing rules as those just a few dozen feet across the street and across the Ohio border.

Last month, Gov. Eric Holcomb said he would downgrade the state's months-long masking and social distancing mandates, along with capacity restrictions, changing them to advisories on April 6 and leaving it up to local governments and business owners to decide their own COVID-19 precautions.

His counterparts in Ohio and Kentucky have not indicated when they might downgrade their safety orders.

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Angelica Fideli serves tables at State Line Restaurant in Lawrenceburg, Ind., photographed April 5, 2021.

Fideli -- who serves food at the diner and whose family has owned it for two decades -- said she's had mixed feelings about the mask mandate.

"Honestly, I hate them because they're uncomfortable. We run a lot; we're hot," she told WCPO. "But, on the other hand, I feel like it's safer. And I feel like the customer is being protected as well as we are."

Fideli said she thinks her family will leave it up to customers to decide whether they want to wear a mask starting Tuesday.

"I don't think they'll make them unless we start coming up with more cases," she said.

One of Fideli's regular customers, Vivian Renard, said she still plans to wear a mask when she comes in for lunch even though she's fully vaccinated against the virus. But she also said she supports Holcomb's decision to downgrade the mandate to an advisory.

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Vivian Renard dines at State Line Restaurant in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, April 5, 2021.

"I want to live as long as I can," she said. "So I want to be protected if I can... (W)e will still wear one where we feel it's appropriate, especially when there is crowds. I think that's up to the individual."

Lawrenceburg resident Gary Caplinger said he worries the mask mandate did more harm than good.

"I think enough is enough, unless it spikes by not wearing the masks, (if) we see another big spike in people getting infected," he said. "I don't see how some businesses have been surviving."