Michigan face mask requirement expanded to include younger children

Kids age 2 and older are required to wear a mask in some settings
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer offers an update on Michigan's coronavirus response.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer offers an update on Michigan's coronavirus response.((source: State of Michigan))
Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 2:38 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - More children will be required to wear masks or face coverings at camps, day care centers and other indoor facilities under a new order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Thursday.

She said Michigan is seeing outbreaks of coronavirus tied to the facilities, which shows that young children can contract and spread the illness.

Thursday’s order requires children age 2 and older to wear a mask or face covering on a school bus or other public transportation. However, Whitmer is encouraging parents to have children age 2 and older wear masks in any indoor space, even though that is not required.

Children age 4 and older must wear a mask or face covering in all shared indoor spaces.

Children age 12 and older must wear a mask or face covering in classrooms, homes, cabins and indoor small group settings.

The new rules extend to schools and align with reopening guidelines ahead of the new academic year.

“Child-care workers have been on the front lines of this crisis and have worked tirelessly to provide a safe place for our children and families during this time,” Whitmer said. “COVID-19 is still a very real threat to Michiganders of all ages, and we must continue to stay vigilant and use every tool at our disposal to protect ourselves and each other.”

One exception to the new rules is for child care facilities in regions in Phase 5 of the MI Safe Start plan. Currently, that only includes the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula. Face coverings also are not required for children who cannot medically tolerate them.

Children also don’t have to wear face coverings if they are:

  • Are eating or drinking.
  • Swimming.
  • Taking part in high-intensity activities.
  • Outdoors and practicing social distancing.
  • Younger than age 2.

“Masks continue to be one of the best ways to contain the spread of COVID-19, and they can be safely worn by most of us over the age of two,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan’s chief medical executive and MDHHS chief deputy for health. “Be a role model for your children and demonstrate the importance of wearing a mask. Have your child practice properly wearing a mask – over their nose, mouth and chin – while they are at home so they are comfortable with it in public.”

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