Gov. Whitmer signs mandatory mask order

LANSING — Today, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed executive order 2020-147, which reiterates that individuals are required to wear a face covering whenever they are in an indoor public space. It also requires the use of face coverings in crowded outdoor spaces.

The order requires any business that is open to the public to refuse entry or service to people who refuse to wear a face covering, with limited exceptions.

According to her office, Whitmer signed this executive order in response to rising COVID-19 cases in Michigan and across the country. Executive Order 2020-147 amends and replaces the governor’s previous Executive Order 2020-114.

Studies have shown that wearing a mask can save lives and significantly lover an individual’s chance of spreading COVID-19, according to a statement from Whitmer’s office. 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 percent. Modeling from the University of Washington similarly indicates that more than 40,000 lives would be spared nationwide if 95 percent of the population wore a mask while in public.

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. Those who are exempt from wearing a mask in Michigan businesses include people younger than five years old, those who cannot medically tolerate a face covering, and those who are eating or drinking while seated at a food service establishment.

The executive order takes effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday. 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 Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, congregants are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings during religious services.

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