Whitmer: All athletes must wear face coverings while competing except swimmers

The CDC recommends people wear face coverings while out in public and suggests wearing one...
The CDC recommends people wear face coverings while out in public and suggests wearing one while exercising too.(Source: WTVM)
Published: Sep. 9, 2020 at 6:55 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - All athletes except swimmers indeed must wear face coverings while practicing and competing, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer confirmed Wednesday.

She issued an order that clarifies action taken last week to allow organized sporting events to continue. While most sports, including high school football, can continue this fall, the athletes participating will be required to wear a mask or face covering.

The only exceptions are for swimmers, divers and athletes who can maintain 6 feet of social distancing at all times during their events.

“The COVID-19 virus is easily spread through airborne particles and can affect everyone differently," Whitmer said. “By wearing a face covering when proper distancing is not possible, athletes will be better protected from contracting the virus and spreading it to family members, frontline workers, and vulnerable populations.”

Football, soccer, volleyball and basketball players all need to wear face coverings for now. Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, who is Michigan’s chief medical executive, said playing organized sports is a choice people can make and contact sports have a high risk of spreading coronavirus.

“For those who do choose to play organized sports, we expect you to follow these strict safety measures and wear a face covering to reduce your risk and protect the health of your teammates, coaches, officials, and loved ones," she said.

Face coverings also are required inside any enclosed space in Michigan, including restaurants and stores. A mask or face covering also is required inside gyms and fitness centers, which partially reopened Wednesday.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is recommending against contact sports, but they will be allowed to continue. The agency is urging people to avoid any activity that involves “shouting, singing, or breathing forcefully” near other people.

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