Despite a ruling from the Michigan Supreme Court that struck down several emergency COVID-19 orders by the state's governor, a statewide mask mandate remains in effect. That's because the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued an order of its own, also limiting social gatherings.
Three days after Michigan's Supreme Court rules that Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer did not have the authority to issue emergency orders to address COVID-19, the state Department of Health and Human Services issued similar orders on Monday.
"I want to make clear today's order is lawful under the Michigan supreme decision," Michigan state health director Dr. Robert Gordon said. "...we are tired of the virus, but the virus is not tired of us."
The order takes effect immediately.
- At indoor or outdoor gatherings, masks must still be worn.
- Wearing a mask must still be enforced by businesses and government offices, and schools
- Only Region 6 — the western part of the state — is exempt.
- Just as before, the size of indoor gatherings will be limited.
Not all Michiganders are embracing the new mandates.
"More than 539,000 Michigan citizens stood up against an elected governor abusing her power. They're not going to tolerate an un-elected bureaucrat continuing the abuse," said Ron Armstrong, the co-founder of Stand Up Michigan and state co-chair of Unlock Michigan
In the wake of the ruling, Monday night, Whitmer put out a video urging Michiganders to wear a mask and lawmakers to act.
"The CDC and experts agree these measures are crucial to slow the spread of the virus, to protect our frontline workers and keep our schools and small businesses open," Whitmer said.
COVID-19 didn’t stop being a threat because of the court ruling, because we’re tired of it, or because the legislature left town. We all have to do our part, because when it comes to fighting this virus, we are all in this together. pic.twitter.com/5LQwXO9UYi
— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) October 6, 2020
The state health director said the spread of the coronavirus can be reduced by 70 percent when masks are worn.
Any violation is a misdemeanor, punishable by six months in jail or a $200 fine. Violations of the order are also punishable by a civil fine of up to $1,000.
This story was originally published by Darren Cunningham on WXYZ in Detroit.