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Gov. Whitmer signs executive order strengthening mask requirements, state health officials confirm 660 new cases

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's administration issued orders changing the time frames for making...
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's administration issued orders changing the time frames for making funeral arrangements and setting up a coronavirus accountability office.(WJRT)
Published: Jul. 17, 2020 at 2:00 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order strengthening her previous order requiring all Michigan residents to wear masks in indoor public spaces and crowded outdoor spaces.

Executive Order 2020-153 states businesses may not assume that an unmasked customer cannot medically tolerate a face covering; however, they can accept a customer’s verbal statement that they can’t medically tolerate a mask.

The order also requires public safety officers to wear a face mask so long as it doesn’t interfere with their job responsibilities.

The order clarifies that wearing a mask at a polling place for purposes of voting in an election isn’t required, but strongly encouraged.

“Wearing a mask is the right thing to do to protect our families, our businesses and our economy,” Whitmer said. “If everyone in Michigan masks up, we can save thousands of lives and put ourselves in a better position to send our kids back to school in the fall. For the safety of our loved ones and our dedicated first responders on the front lines: mask up, Michigan.”

“COVID-19 is far from over - people are still getting sick and dying,” Katie Scott, vice president of the Michigan Nurses Association said. “As a nurse, I’m worried that many people are not taking the pandemic seriously enough. Don’t wait until COVID happens to you or a loved one to take action. Wearing a mask is a simple step that protects everyone.”

The governor’s office said the following are exceptions to the mask order:

· Are younger than five years old

· 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 at a polling place for purposes of voting in an election.

The governor’s office said over the last two weeks, every region in the state of Michigan has seen an uptick in new cases, with daily case counts exceeding 20 cases per million in all but one region in the state.

On Friday, July 17, the state confirmed 660 additional cases of COVID-19 with seven deaths bringing the state’s total to 72,502 cases with 6,108 deaths.

“Research confirms that a big part of the reason is spotty compliance with the governor’s requirement that individuals wear face coverings in public spaces,” the governor’s office said in a press release.

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