Home Featured News Increase in COVID-19 cases causes Whitmer to reinforce safety policies

Increase in COVID-19 cases causes Whitmer to reinforce safety policies

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(courtesy photo)

Today Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-147 requiring businesses to deny entry to patrons who do not wear a face mask.  

This order “reiterates that individuals are required to wear a face covering whenever they are in an indoor public space,” as stated in a press release

The main difference between this order and preceding ones are the requirements put in place for businesses open to the public. Under this order that goes into effect at 12:01 on Monday, July 13, businesses must “refuse entry and service” to individuals who refuse to wear a face covering. They are also required to post signs at entrances that alert patrons of the requirement. 

“Wearing a mask is an effective and low-cost way to protect ourselves and our families from a deadly disease,” Whitmer stated in the order. “It should be—and is—the responsibility of every Michigander.”

Failure to comply with this order now carries a legal penalty for both the business and individual(s) involved. Businesses who do not uphold the new requirement to refuse entry and service to unmasked individuals could face a temporary suspension of their license to operate. 

For patrons, “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,” states the press release. “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 CDC, congregants are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings during religious services.”

However, some people are exempt from this requirement. As stated in the order, individuals must meet one of the following criteria in order to be exempt:

  • Are younger than 5 years old, though children 2 years old and older are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering, pursuant to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”)
  • Cannot medically tolerate a face covering 
  • Are eating or drinking while seated at a food service establishment 
  • Are exercising when wearing a face covering would interfere in the activity 
  • Are receiving a service for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service 
  • Are entering a business or are receiving a service and are asked to temporarily remove a face covering for identification purposes 
  • Are communicating with someone who is hearing impaired or otherwise disabled and where the ability to see the mouth is essential to communication 
  • Are actively engaged in a public safety role, including but not limited to law enforcement, firefighters, or emergency medical personnel 
  • Are officiating at a religious service
  • Are giving a speech for broadcast or an audience

This change comes on the heels of recent increases of COVID-19 cases. 

“Daily case counts now exceed 20 cases per million in the Grand Rapids, Detroit, and Lansing regions,” states the order. 

Modeling from the University of Washington indicates that if 95% of the population wore a face covering in public, more than 40,000 lives could be spared. 

To date, Michigan has seen 67,683 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 6,271 confirmed deaths. 

As a whole, the U.S. has seen 3,106,931 cases, which is up 59,260 from yesterday’s data, as reported by the CDC. The death toll in the U.S. due to COVID-19 is 132,855, of which 799 have occurred since yesterday.