Whitmer: Michigan businesses must bar unmasked people

July 10, 2020, 11:23 AM

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has joined the governors of a handful of states in imposing some of the most stringent mask requirements.

Under a new executive order issued Friday, businesses must refuse entry or service to people without a face covering -- which also are mandatory now in crowded outdoor spaces. Previously, masks were required only at indoor public spaces.

"Willful violation" of the order is a misdemeanor with a potential fine of up to $500, but no jail time. Businesses can have their licenses suspended for not complying.

The governor summed up the policy: "No shirts, no shoes, no mask — no service."

Kansas, Maine, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Washington have imposed similar requirements on businesses.

A statement from Whitmer says:

"The heroes on the front lines of this crisis have gone hours without taking their masks off every day – doctors, nurses, child care workers, grocery store workers. We owe it to them to wear our masks when we’re on a trip to the grocery store or pharmacy.

"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. 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.

"For the sake of your loved ones, let’s all mask up, Michigan."

The move comes as Covid-19 cases trend upward in the state for a second time and viral images of maskless crowds surface from across the state.

The order lists mask benefits:

Studies have shown that wearing a mask can save lives and significantly lover an individual’s chance of spreading Covid-19.

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%. Modeling from the University of Washington similarly indicates that more than 40,000 lives would be spared nationwide if 95% of the population wore a mask while in public.

Furthermore, a study conducted by Goldman Sachs concluded that a federal mask mandate could save the U.S. economy from taking a 5% hit to our GDP. 

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