Gov. Whitmer extends ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ order, requires Michiganders to wear masks in public

LANSING — Friday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order extending her “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order until May 15 and requiring Michigander to wear non-medical grade masks in public.

The order, effective 11:59 p.m. Sunday, requires people to wear homemade, non-medical grade face coverings when they enter enclosed public spaces. It will also require employers to provide at least cloth face coverings to their employees. People will not have to wear face coverings when they are taking a walk in the neighborhood, but when they go to the grocery store, they should be wearing one, according to communications from the governor’s office. Under the order, however, no one will be subject to criminal penalty for going without a mask.

“Data shows that most Michiganders are doing their part by staying home and staying safe. That’s good, but we must keep it up. Social distancing is our best weapon to defeat this enemy,” Whitmer said Friday. “With new COVID-19 cases leveling off, however, we are lifting some of the restrictions put in place in the previous order. I want to be crystal clear: the overarching message today is still the same. We must all do our part by staying home and staying safe as much as possible.”

The new executive order also allows some workers who perform very previously suspended activities to go back on the job. Landscapers, lawn-service companies and nurseries can return to work, subject to strict social distancing. Retailers that do not sell necessary supplies may reopen for curbside pick-up and for delivery. Big box stores can reopen “closed areas,” like garden centers. Bike repair and maintenance can come back online.

At the same time, the order eases up on some restrictions on members of the public. It will, for example, allow motorized boating and golf — but no golf carts — consistent with sound social distancing. It will also permit individuals to travel between their residences, though such travel during the epidemic is strongly discouraged, Whitmer said.

The order clarifies that state parks remain open, as they have been throughout the emergency.

The governor’s order is in close alignment with other Midwest states. On April 16, Governor Whitmer announced she and Governors Mike DeWine, of Ohio; Tony Evers, of Wisconsin; Tim Walz, of Minnesota; JB Pritzker, of Illinois; Eric Holcomb, of Indiana; and Andy Beshear, of Kentucky, will work in close coordination to reopen the economy in the Midwest region.

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