Governor Says Face Masks Required in all Indoor Public Spaces
July 16, 2020
On Friday, July 10, in response to rising COVID-19 cases in Michigan, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order requiring individuals to wear a face covering whenever they are in an indoor public space. The order, which took effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, July 13, also requires businesses that are open to the public to refuse entry and service to those who fail to comply. Businesses must also post signs at all entrances instructing customers of their legal obligation to wear a face covering while inside.
Since early July, every region of the state has seen an uptick in new cases, and research confirms that irregular compliance with the governor's prior orders that individuals wear face coverings is contributing to the rise in cases. "Many people with COVID-19 do not show symptoms, so wearing a mask is important to prevent transmission of respiratory droplets, especially when others come within 6 feet of you," says Dr. Randi Schutz, D.O., a pediatrician with Western Wayne Family Health Centers. "Children should wear masks if they are not able to stay 6 feet away from others in places such as grocery stores or doctor's offices."
Studies have shown that wearing a face mask can significantly lower an individual's chance of spreading COVID-19. A study in Germany suggests that the adoption of mandatory mask ordinances decreased the daily growth rate of COVID-19 infections by 40%. Research modeling from the University of Washington theorizes that 40,000 lives could be spared nationwide if 95% of the population wore a face mask while in public.
"Masks can reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19 by about 70%. By wearing masks we can save lives and protect our family, friends, and neighbors from the spread of COVID-19," said Governor Whitmer. "And by wearing masks now, we can put our state in a stronger position so our kids can return to school safely in the fall."
There are exceptions to the governor's mandate for people younger than five years old, thosewho cannot medically tolerate a face covering, and those who are eating and drinking while seated at a restaurant. "Children do not need a mask at home, assuming they have not been exposed to anyone with COVID-19," says Dr. Schutz, adding that children do not need a mask outdoors as long as they are maintaining a distance of 6 feet from others and are not touching playground equipment or other objects in high-traffic areas. However, willful violation of the order is a misdemeanor and subject to a $500 fine. No penalty will be imposed on those who are engaging in religious worship at a house of worship, but congregants are strongly urged to wear face covering while gathering for worship services.
John Hopkins Medicine says to make sure the mask fits to cover your nose, mouth, and chin. Make sure you are able to breath and talk comfortably through your mask and do not remove it while around others in public. In addition, washing your hands upon returning home from running errands can eliminate germs and viruses you may have picked up on shopping cart handles and doorknobs while out.
While the governor urges everyone to, "Mask, up, Michigan," it is notable that avoiding unnecessary trips out of the house can go a long way in preventing transmission of COVID-19 as well. "Staying home and social distancing is the best way to protect your family," says Dr. Schutz.