Late Friday morning it was announced that Governor Whitmer had signed an executive order that goes in effect on Monday, July 13 requiring face coverings be worn inside all public spaces as well as crowded outdoor spaces.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order that requires individuals to wear a face-covering whenever they are in an indoor public space or when in "crowded outdoor spaces". The order requires any business that is open to the public to refuse entry or service to people who refuse to wear a face covering, with limited exceptions. Governors in the states of Kansas, Maine, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Washington have recently imposed similar requirements on businesses.

According to a release from the governor's office, the latest executive order was in response to rising COVID-19 cases in Michigan and across the country. Over the past week, every region in Michigan has seen an uptick in new cases, and daily case counts now exceed 20 cases per million in the Grand Rapids, Detroit, and Lansing regions. Research confirms that a big part of the reason is spotty compliance with the governor’s requirement, issued in prior orders, that individuals wear face coverings in public spaces, the release goes on to say.

Under the governor’s order, businesses that are open to the public must refuse entry and service to individuals who fail to comply and must post signs at all entrances instructing customers of their legal obligation to wear a face-covering while inside. Those who are exempt from wearing a mask in Michigan businesses include people younger than five years old, those who cannot medically tolerate a face covering, and those who are eating or drinking while seated at a food service establishment.

The release also says that studies have shown that wearing a mask can save lives and significantly lover an individual’s chance of spreading COVID-19. A study on different regions in Germany, for example, suggests that the adoption of mandatory mask ordinances decreased the daily growth rate of COVID-19 infections by 40%.

Michigan's fight against COVID-19 is nowhere near over, which is why it’s so important that we all do our part and wear masks when we’re out in public. Wearing a mask or face covering can significantly decrease the chance of spreading COVID-19 and save lives. It’s important that all Michiganders wear masks properly - not down around the neck, not only over the mouth, but correctly over the mouth and nose. Please everyone stay patient, and remain vigilant. ~Chief Medical Executive and DHHS Chief Deputy for Health Dr. Joneigh Khaldun.

Battle Creek 62nd State Representative Jim Haadsma, a democrat, says one wears a mask to protect others and he doesn’t think it should be politicized. But Rep. Haadsma doesn’t think the Governor should be forcing people to wear masks.

I don’t think it would be a wise move to burden the police departments with any other enforcement obligations.

Haadsma said he thinks a move toward requiring masks as a matter of law would

have to be associated with a significant spike in the number of cases and percentage of positives, and also would require injection of monies to departments to do this kind of enforcement.

The executive order takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, July 13. A willful violation of the order is a misdemeanor subject to a $500 criminal penalty, but no term of confinement may be imposed on individuals who violate the mask requirement. No individual is subject to penalty under the order for removing a mask while engaging in religious worship at a house of religious worship, although consistent with guidance from the CDC, congregants are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings during religious services.

Read executive order 2020-147 in its entirety by clicking here.

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