Whitmer strengthens mask-wearing requirements as coronavirus cases increase

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STEVE NEAVLING
  • Steve Neavling

With coronavirus cases increasing in Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer toughened the state’s mask-wearing requirements.

Whitmer signed a new executive order Friday that requires the use of masks in crowded outdoor spaces beginning Monday. Business also are required to refuse entry or service to people who aren’t wearing a mask, with a few exceptions.



Anyone who defies the order faces a $500 fine.

The state already requires people to wear a mask while inside an indoor public space, like a grocery store or gas station.



“The heroes on the front lines of this crisis have gone hours without taking their masks off every day – doctors, nurses, child care workers, grocery store workers. We owe it to them to wear our masks when we’re on a trip to the grocery store or pharmacy,” Whitmer says in a news release. “Masks can reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19 by about 70 percent. By wearing masks, we can save lives and protect our family, friends, and neighbors from the spread of COVID-19. And by wearing masks now, we can put our state in a stronger position so our kids can return to school safely in the fall. For the sake of your loved ones, let’s all mask up, Michigan.”

The new order is certain to enrage a very vocal minority that equates mask-wearing mandates to tyranny.

Studies show that masks are an effective way to decrease the spread of COVID-19, which has killed more than 6,000 Michigan residents.

“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,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive says in a news release. “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.”

The mask-wearing mandate exempts children under the age of 5, people who cannot medically tolerate a face-covering, and those who are eating or drinking at a restaurant or bar.

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