With Indiana’s mask requirement becoming an advisory April 6th, the Porter County Health Department has issued a statement strongly recommending the continued wear of face coverings in public indoor spaces, including business and retail establishments, gyms and exercise facilities, places of worship, event venues and government offices. The health department also continues to recommend those establishments encourage social distancing among their patrons and employees through visual reminders and signage. County Health Officer Dr. Maria Stamp says the coronavirus continues to spread locally, with more transmissible variants spreading in the state and county. Dr. Stamp also said an alarming increase in cases is currently occurring in nearby Michigan. Under 25-percent of county residents have received the COVID-19 vaccine so far and the hope is to have most vaccinated by the end of May or June, Dr. Stamp said. “We understand that great sacrifices have been made in the past year, physically, emotionally, and economically. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Please join us in continuing effective public health measures for the next 2 months. The health department will continue to monitor the situation in Porter County and make additional recommendations or restrictions as necessary. Please contact the Porter County Health Department with questions or for clarification,” the statement from Dr. Stamp said.