Whitmer toughens face mask requirements in Michigan

Businesses are ordered to refuse service to anyone without a mask who doesn't meet limited criteria
Health experts say it is important to wear either a cloth or surgical mask when out in public.
Health experts say it is important to wear either a cloth or surgical mask when out in public.(WEAU)
Published: Jul. 10, 2020 at 10:50 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Customers who refuse to wear a face mask inside must be refused service by businesses in Michigan under a toughened order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Friday.

With limited exceptions, she is ordering businesses not to allow customers or employees inside without a face mask or covering over their nose and mouth. Masks or face coverings also are necessary for outdoor gatherings when people can’t stay six feet apart.

Children under age 5 and people medically unable to wear a mask are exempt. Masks also are not required while eating and drinking in an establishment or while attending religious services.

Masks had been required statewide since the spring, but there was no criminal penalty for not having one. Whitmer’s new order allows for up to a $500 fine for each violation.

“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 Whitmer.

She said wearing face masks reduces the chance of spreading coronavirus by 70%.

“Wearing a mask or face covering can significantly decrease the chance of spreading COVID-19 and save lives,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, who is Michigan’s chief medical executive. “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.”

Whitmer said the strengthened order comes as a response to the rising number of coronavirus cases reported in Michigan so far in July. The daily number of new cases bottomed out below 200 in mid-June but has rebounded above 400 most days in July.

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