Gov. Whitmer considering additional steps to enforce mask-wearing

Published: Jul. 9, 2020 at 1:22 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Governor Gretchen Whitmer is continuing to encourage people to wear masks as COVID-19 cases are on an uptick in the state of Michigan.

Whitmer cited the holiday weekend as a possible cause for the rise in cases, saying several people gathered to celebrate the 4th of July without wearing masks.

During her press conference, the governor was asked if she planned to penalize those who aren’t wearing masks. She said although penalties are in place, help is needed at the local level to enforce those penalties and ensure compliance.

“I think as we see our numbers continue to rise that locals are going to get more active in assisting on this front,” Whitmer said.

Whitmer said she’s heard from a number of employees who say they’re fearful of the COVID-19. She said employers are responsible for making sure safety protocols are being followed to keep people safe.

In her conversations with a number of Midwestern governors, Whitmer said the governors are “actively engaging” in creating more broad mask-wearing requirements like what’s been done in the state of Michigan.

The governor said she’s actively looking at how to increase mask-wearing compliance within the state.

“It is, human behavior is the thing that’s going to determine which direction we’re headed in,” Whitmer said. “We’ll do everything we can to encourage the right choices, but at the end of the day it’s on all of us to do our part to educate the people around us whether it’s in the store, it’s in our household, it’s in our neighborhood, or in our workplace, we’ve got to implore one another to step up and do the right thing.”

Whitmer said the state has found more young people testing positive for COVID-19, saying youth will not protect Michigan residents from this disease.

The state saw its highest increase in cases Wednesday since the month of May, however, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said hospitalizations haven’t increased.

Khaldun said those who work outside of the home, or think they’ve come into contact with someone who’s been infected with the virus, should get tested for COVID-19.

The governor said although are numbers are comparatively better, there’s still reason to be concerned.

“If we’re going to get our kids back to school in eight weeks, we’ve got to at least stay in Phase 4 if not move into Phase 5 and on the trajectory we’re on, it’s very much in question,” she said.

The full press conference can be viewed here:

LIVE: Gov. Whitmer presser on COVID-19

LIVE: Gov. Whitmer provides update on state's continued response to COVID-19.

Posted by WILX News 10 on Thursday, July 9, 2020

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