Macomb County Sheriff's Office refuses to issue citations for violations of Gov. Whitmer's mask-wearing order


Michigan residents are required to wear masks in stores. - STEVE NEAVLING
  • Steve Neavling
  • Michigan residents are required to wear masks in stores.

The Macomb County Sheriff’s Office said it won’t issue citations to people who violate Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s requirement to wear masks indoors, even as the number of coronavirus cases in continues to rise in the state.

The sheriff’s office made the announcement Monday on Facebook, drawing criticism and praise.

“The Macomb County Sheriff’s Office will NOT be issuing citations to those not wearing a mask, those who wish to make a complaint will be referred to the Attorney General’s Office,” the post states. “If a business wishes to enforce this order, they may require patrons to wear a mask. If the patron refuses, the business may ask them to leave their eatablishment [sic]. If the patron refuses, the business may contact us and we will treat it as a trespassing complaint. We hope this clears up any confusion.”

Whitmer’s toughened-up mask-wearing order went into effect on Monday, making wearing masks mandatory at indoor businesses and in crowded outdoor spaces. Business are required to refuse entry or service to people who aren’t wearing a masks, with a few exceptions. Anyone who defies the order faces a $500 fine.

Macomb County has the third-most COVID-19 cases and deaths in Michigan. The county has reported 7,625 confirmed infections and 891 deaths.

Last week, Van Buren County Sheriff Dan Abbott also said his office won’t issue citations, claiming the governor’s executive orders are constitutionally questionable.

Studies show that masks are an effective way to decrease the spread of COVID-19, which has killed more than 6,000 Michigan residents since March. But there is a very vocal minority of right-wingers who claim to know more than epidemiologists and public health experts, insisting masks are useless and being forced to wear them amounts to tyranny.

On the Fourth of July, an Ohio Army vet who declared “I’m not buying a fucking mask” died from COVID-19.

On Monday, President Donald Trump retweeted a conspiracy theory from ex-game show host Chuck Woolery, who claimed the “most outrageous lies” were being spread about the coronavirus pandemic.

“Everyone is lying. The CDC, Media, Democrats, our Doctors, not all but most, that we are told to trust. I think it’s all about the election and keeping the economy from coming back, which is about the election. I’m sick of it,” Woolery wrote in a tweet shared by the president.

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