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Governor requires businesses to refuse service to those not wearing a mask

Governor requires businesses to refuse service to those not wearing a mask

On Friday, July 10, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed executive order2020-147, which reiterates that individuals are required to wear a face covering whenever they are in an indoor public space. It also requires the use of face coverings in crowded outdoor spaces. Most significantly, the order requires any business that is open to the public to refuse entry or service to people who refuse to wear a face covering, with limited exceptions. She said governors in the states of Kansas, Maine, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Washington have imposed similar requirements on businesses.

Whitmer reportedly signed this executive order in response to rising COVID-19 cases in Michigan and across the country. If you look at the chart on “Daily cases by status” taken from the State of Michigan website, you can see that in June, we were seeing slightly less positive cases per day. In July, there is a small uptick, comparable to what we were seeing in May. 

Yet, if you look at the charts not all numbers appear to match. Take for instance, the chart that shows total lab tests by date. It shows that on 7/14, there were 32,617 negative tests, and 1,194 positive tests. Then look at the daily cases by status: it shows only 128 positive cases on 7/14 with 16 probable. It’s difficult to decipher the true number. We will be digging into that for further clarification.

To further protect workers and the community, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-147 reiterates that businesses who are open to the public must refuse entry and service to individuals who fail to comply with wearing a face covering. The Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) is offering to provide the tools necessary for business to protect their workers and remain safely open.

Under the governor’s order, businesses must post signs at all entrances instructing customers of their legal obligation to wear a face covering while inside. To assist employers with this requirement, a print-ready poster that businesses may use is available online. LEO and the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) have a set of online resources at Michigan.gov/COVIDWorkplaceSafety that provides guidelines, posters for employees and customers, factsheets, educational videos and a reopening checklist to keep workplaces safe.

“By requiring everyone in their establishment to mask up, Michigan businesses can help keep their employees, workplaces and customers safe,” said LEO Director Jeff Donofrio. “Employers who violate the Governor’s Executive Orders, CDC guidance and OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 create additional hazards for workers and put the public at risk. We all must do our part to prevent the spread of this virus.”

In a press release, the Governor’s office cited studies showing that wearing a mask can save lives and significantly lower 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 [https://voxeu.org/article/unmasked-effect-face-masks-spread-covid-19].  Modeling from the University of Washington similarly indicates that more than 40,000 lives would be spared nationwide if 95 percent of the population wore a mask while in public [https://covid19.healthdata.org/. 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.” A reference was not given for that study. 

“We will remain vigilant to equip employers and their staff with proper guidance and tools needed to keep Michigan workplaces safe,” said COVID-19 Workplace Safety Director Sean Egan. “Our priority is protecting workers and this Executive Order allows us to do that effectively.”

Those who are exempt from wearing a mask in Michigan businesses include people younger than five years old, those who cannot medically tolerate a face covering, and those who are eating or drinking while seated at a food service establishment.

The executive order took effect at12:01 a.m. on Monday, July 13. 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. 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.

Charts taken from State of Michigan website:

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