Warning: Economists Predict Ending Mask Mandates Could Harm State Economies, Like Indiana


Micah Pollak, Associate Professor of Economics at IU Northwest: “I think removing the mask mandate and other restrictions next week is more likely to hurt #Indiana’s economy than help it.”

Seth Giertz, economics professor at the University of Texas at Dallas: “…if some places aren’t imposing restrictions, that could lead to superspreader events. That’s going to actually make things worse and harm the economy.”

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Democratic Party, the organization that advocates for the future of Indiana and its families, today amplified warnings from economists like Micah Pollak  – associate professor of economics at Indiana University Northwest — who predicted what could happen to the state economy should Governor Eric Holcomb prematurely end Indiana’s mask mandate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Simply put: businesses could lose customers, the state could lose out on revenue, and Indiana forfeits the advantage the American Rescue Plan provided the state and Hoosier families. 

Other states like Texas have foreshadowed what’s in store for the Hoosier State. Like Indiana, Texas economists anticipated economic instability. But what’s worse, workers and businesses in Texas have now been subjected to harassment from customers who chose not to abide by businesses’ mask requirements. The same reality could happen to Indiana and its businesses because Gov. Holcomb has placed his politics ahead of common-sense, science, and the “facts on the ground”. 

This situation could be prevented. Indiana Democrats have consistently warned about what could happen to Indiana should Eric Holcomb rush the state out of the pandemic prematurely. This is why Democrats have called for more responsible and thoughtful solutions to the state’s biggest problems, letting science and facts — not politics or partisanship — guide Indiana and its families to a better future and better opportunity. 

Professor concerned ending mask mandate too soon could hurt economy

WSBT // Selina Guevara

“One week from today is the last day Indiana will be under a statewide mask mandate.

While some health experts are concerned that’s too early, an economist is also leery.

We spoke to a professor who says opening up too soon could actually damage the economy.

An economics professor at IU Northwest tells us one of the biggest misconceptions he’s seen is people blaming the closures and capacity limits for slowed economic output when he attributes it to more people simply being afraid to go out during a pandemic.

‘There have definitely been a lot of pushes to loosen the restrictions with the idea that will bring the economy back, and it is not going to bring demand back,’ said Micah Pollak, IU Northwest economist. ‘It’s going to make people feel less comfortable.’” […]

“But it’s those who are hesitant that Pollak says local shops and restaurants need business from in order to start the economy back up.

‘The people that maybe didn’t like the mask mandate, didn’t like the restrictions, that maybe thought they weren’t necessary, they are still going to be out there whether it is in place or not,’ said Pollak. ‘But you might potentially lose those risk-averse people who are not comfortable with the change.’” […]

“Pollack says even if local businesses try to keep those mandates in place, it is going to be harder for them to enforce.” […]

“Pollack says he thinks the state can also help stimulate the economy by focusing on what average Hoosiers need to get through the pandemic — and keeping people employed so they have the disposable income to spend on stimulating the economy.”


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