Friday, September 25, 2020

Whitmer signs executive order requiring masks in indoor, public spaces

July 10, 2020
<p>Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer during her second State of the State address at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing on Jan. 29, 2020.</p>

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer during her second State of the State address at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing on Jan. 29, 2020.

Photo by Connor Desilets | The State News

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order Friday requiring masks and facial coverings in indoor, public spaces. 

Willful violation of the order is a misdemeanor. Though no jail time may be imposed on violators, they might face a fine. 

“Wearing a mask is an effective and low-cost way to protect ourselves and our families from a deadly disease,” Whitmer said in the order. “It should be — and is — the responsibility of every Michigander.”

The order comes after every region in the state has seen an uptick in new cases over the past two weeks following the loosening of “Stay Home, Stay Safe” restrictions in June.

Any individual who is out of their house must wear a mask when in any indoor, public space, when outdoors and unable to social distance and when waiting for or riding on public transportation, including hired, private car service.

Neither child care centers nor day, residential, travel or troop camps are considered public spaces, as defined by the Michigan Administrative Code.

The order also prohibits any business that is open to the public from providing service to a customer without a mask or allowing a customer not wearing a mask to enter its premises.

“No shirts, no shoes, no mask — no service,” Whitmer said in the order. 

A business’s license to operate may be temporarily suspended if a department or agency finds it in violation of the order. 

Individuals who are younger than five years old or unable to medically tolerate a face covering are still not required to wear them. 

Masks are also not required when eating, drinking, exercising and when temporary removal of the mask is essential to perform a service. Those who are actively engaged in a public safety role, officiating at a religious service or giving a speech or broadcast to an audience are also exempt from wearing masks while performing those tasks. 

At a press conference Thursday, the governor said if everyone does their part to reduce transmissions of COVID-19 by wearing a facial covering, the state will not have to regress back to an earlier and more restrictive stage of the MI Safe Start Plan.

“Make a mask with a political statement saying, ‘I hate masks,’ if you want,” Whitmer said. “But, just wear it. That’s all I ask.”

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