(WWJ) Michigan's governor said she might have to take the mask rule a step further so that people comply, and now she has.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Friday morning signed Executive order 2020-147, which reiterates that Michiganders are required to wear a face covering whenever they are in an indoor public space.
Research confirms, Whitmer's office says, that a big part of the reason for these upticks is spotty compliance with the mask rule. According to the state: Studies have shown that wearing a mask can save lives and significantly lower 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%. Modeling from the University of Washington similarly indicates that more than 40,000 lives would be spared nationwide if 95% of the population wore a mask while in public. Furthermore, the state says, a study conducted by Goldman Sachs concluded that a federal mask mandate could save the U.S. economy from taking a 5% hit to our GDP.
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.
Whitmer's office notes that governors in the states of Kansas, Maine, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Washington have imposed similar requirements on businesses.
Those who are exempt from wearing a mask in Michigan businesses include people younger than 5 years old, those who cannot medically tolerate a face covering, and those who are eating or drinking while seated at a restaurant.
“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, in a media release Friday. “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.”
According to a release from the state: "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."
Executive Order 2020-147, which takes effect at 12:01am on Monday, July 13, amends and replaces the governor’s previous Executive Order 2020-114.
Read the complete order HERE.
State health officials said there were 612 new confirmed coronavirus cases in Michigan Friday, marking the second time the number has spiked over 600 since May. The biggest jumps continue to be seen in Mid-Michigan, West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.