Gov. Whitmer Mandates Masks Indoors with $500 Fine; Retail Group Says Rule ‘Impossible’ to Enforce

by Scott McClallen



Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-147, requiring Michiganders to wear a mask when in an indoor public space starting at 12:01 a.m. Monday.

The order also requires residents to wear a mask in crowded outdoor spaces and mandates any business open to the public to refuse entry or service to those without a mask, with some exceptions.

The order responds to an increased number of COVID-19 cases across Michigan.

“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,” Whitmer said in a statement.

“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.”

Whitmer supported her order with a German study that found a mandatory mask rule reduced the growth rate of COVID-19 infections by about 40 percent.

Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun backed the order.

“Wearing a mask or face covering can significantly decrease the chance of spreading COVID-19 and save lives,” Khaldun said in a statement.

“It’s important that all Michiganders wear masks properly – not down around the neck, not only over the mouth, but correctly over the mouth and nose. Please everyone stay patient, and remain vigilant.”

Under the order, businesses must post signs at all entrances notifying customers of the requirement.

The mask requirement exempts those younger than five years old, those who can’t medically tolerate a face covering, are eating or drinking or while seated at a food establishment, and seven others.

Individuals won’t get fined for removing a mask at a house of worship, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing a mask at that time.

Those who willfully violate the order can be charged with a misdemeanor and a $500 fine, but no jail time.

Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, a Flint Democrat, applauded the order.

“Masks are not a political statement, they are a safety statement that you care about protecting yourself and others, and you take the pandemic that has killed over 6,000 of your Michigan neighbors seriously,” Ananich said in a statement.

“It might not feel normal, but we have to get used to the new rule of ‘no shirt, no shoes, no MASK – no service.’”

Businesses that provide service to or allow unmasked customers to enter risk the state revoking their business license.

The Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) appreciated the order but said they are “frustrated that [Whitmer] did not leave the policing to law enforcement officers.”

“This puts retail employees in potentially dangerous situations when they’re forced to confront unmasked customers,” the group said in a statement.

Certain exemptions under the order are tricky to enforce, the MRA said, such as if a customer can’t medically tolerate wearing a mask or feigns the exemption.

“Determining the validity of an ambiguous exemption is an impossible task for a retailer,” the group said. “And now, even retailers acting in good faith could be subject to severe licensing sanctions based on the actions of non-compliant customers.

– – –

Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on and Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.
Photo “Gretchen Whitmer” by Gretchen Whitmer.







Related posts

One Thought to “Gov. Whitmer Mandates Masks Indoors with $500 Fine; Retail Group Says Rule ‘Impossible’ to Enforce”

  1. She is trying to shut down the economy in Michigan in collusion with other Democrat Governors and Mayors across the Country! That is the truth of the matter.
    It is the typical Communist approach. Just like Venezuela in the same respects!