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Officials considering strengthening mask compliance in Michigan to fight COVID-19

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Posted at 12:43 PM, Jul 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-09 13:55:18-04

(WXYZ) — Governor Gretchen Whitmer said the state is considering strengthening mask compliance.

Currently, state law requires that anyone in an enclosed public space has to wear a mask, including stores.

She said enforcement of the law relies on assistance at the local level. As case numbers continue to rise in Michigan, Whitmer said there will most likely be active assistance on enforcement.

She said a number of employees in restaurants and stores are fearful.

"Employers have a vested interest in ensuring that workforce and patrons feel comfortable coming in," she said.

The state is actively looking at possibly taking additional steps to increase compliance.

"We'll do everything to encourage the right choices," she said. "It's on all of us to do our part and educate the people around us. We've got to implore one another to step up and do the right thing."

The governor said she feels for businesses and clerks that are being confronted by customers who are unhappy about the mask requirement.

Some businesses are also asking for tougher rules, she said, so they can be more strictly enforced.

The governor said there could be a possibility of handing out misdemeanors and fines, but stressed that the "last thing" she wants to do is dole out penalties.

She reiterated that officials are determining the most helpful steps to encourage compliance.

"Without a vaccine or cure, a mask is the safest way to protect yourself from COVID-19, to protect family, neighbors and coworkers, and to protect our economy."

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

Visit our The Rebound Detroit, a place where we are working to help people impacted financially from the coronavirus. We have all the information on everything available to help you through this crisis and how to access it.