Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed a new executive which requires masks to be worn in indoor public spaces and crowded outdoor spaces.
The order also 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 Kansas, Maine, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Washington have imposed similar requirements on businesses.
The order, according to a release, is in response to rising COVID-19 cases in Michigan and across the country.
“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,” Governor Whitmer said in a statement. “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,” she added.
The executive order takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, July 13.
Over the past week, every region in Michigan has seen an uptick in new cases, according to the release. “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 statement continues.
“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,” Chief Medical Executive and DHHS Chief Deputy for Health Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said in a statement. “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.”
Under the governor’s order, businesses that are open to the public must refuse entry and service to individuals who fail to comply. Those 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.
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,” the statement adds.
For the full order, go here.