An anti-mask protest is planned for Sunday afternoon south of the Indiana Statehouse.
"We feel that the crisis has ended and it is time to return the state back to normal operations and to not ask for people to wear masks. The masks are ineffective," says Robert Hall, organizer of the protest and leader of the Indiana Conservative Alliance and Grassroots Conservatives.
Governor Holcomb planned on fully reopening the state on the 4th of July, but chose to keep the state in "stage 4.5". Earlier this week, he also decided to stay at 4.5 for "at least the next two weeks."
"The number of deaths from the China virus has reduced to below the level it was prior to the start of it in March," says Hall.
More than 2,600 people have died from coronavirus in Indiana. On Wednesday, State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said an increase in positive cases of coronavirus played a part in the decision for the state to stay at 4.5. She said the hot spots continue to be in the northern part of the state, in Marion County and in southwestern Indiana.
"The number of cases have increased because they're testing more people. The crisis is over. It's not as serious as it was. We shouldn't have these draconian measures going on. Wearing masks can be harmful to your health causing oxygen deficiency and toxic carbon dioxide in your blood," says Hall.
A new study published by Mass General Brigham finds that face masks can go a long way in stopping the coronavirus in its tracks. According to the study from the Boston-based nonprofit hospital, the rate of coronavirus infections fell dramatically from the middle of March to the end of April when health care workers and patients both wore masks in a hospital setting.
The study found that N95 and surgical masks are more effective than bandannas and scarves, but that those face coverings are better than not wearing one at all.
Holcomb has not issued a statewide mask mandate, but has encouraged people to wear masks. Hall says that sets a dangerous precedent.
"It's ridiculous. Some of the stores are now requiring people to wear masks because they're following his lead. They should be voluntary not mandatory," says Hall.
Hall was asked about the increase of coronavirus cases across the country and the possibility that people traveling from other states could bring the virus to Indiana.
"But it hasn't yet. The number of cases are up because testing is up. Symptoms are either mild or people are asymptomatic. It's not as serious as they told us it was going to be. It's not a crisis anymore," says Hall.
Hall was asked what he plans to do if the City of Indianapolis or Marion County Health Department plans on issuing the protesers a fine or some kind of punishment.
"We know attorneys that will help fight anything. There's no law that requires it. It's really questionable on a legal basis," says Hall.
The anti-mask protest is scheduled for Sunday at 200 West Washington Street from 4-6 pm.