Whitmer toughens mask mandate; businesses must deny service
Businesses must comply beginning Monday or risk losing their license.
LANSING, Mich. (AP/WLUC) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday toughened a requirement to wear masks during the coronavirus pandemic, mandating that businesses open to the public deny service or entry to customers who refuse to wear one.
The governor also expanded where people must have a face covering beyond indoor public spaces. Starting immediately, they have to wear one outdoors if they cannot consistently keep 6 feet from non-household members, and while using public transportation, a taxi or a ride-sharing vehicle _ with some exceptions.
In a change, violators will now be subject to a misdemeanor fine but will continue to face no jail time. A willful violation of the order is a misdemeanor subject to a $500 criminal penalty.
“No shirts, no shoes, no mask -- no service,” Whitmer wrote in the order.
Businesses must comply beginning Monday or risk losing their license. 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.
Face coverings can reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19, she said. She pointed to “stalled” progress in suppressing the virus -- cases have risen again in Michigan -- and contended that spotty compliance with her monthslong mask requirement is a “big part of the reason.”
“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,” said Governor Whitmer. “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.”
“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,” said Chief Medical Executive and DHHS Chief Deputy for Health Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “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.”
Click here to read all of Executive Order 2020-147. The executive order takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, July 13.
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.
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