Dear Nathan,

Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. I hope you and your family are staying safe during these challenging times. I truly appreciate hearing from Michiganders across our state about how we can work together to build a better, stronger Michigan.  

My top priority as Governor is to ensure the safety and well-being of all Michiganders. On March 10, 2020, I declared a State of Emergency, and in the time since, my administration has taken decisive action to combat COVID-19. Where Michigan was once among the states most heavily hit by COVID-19, our per-capita case rate is now below the national average. However, despite our efforts, cases have risen over the past month—from a rolling seven-day average of about 15 cases per million in mid-June, the low point since the peak in April, to about 50 cases per million in late July. Our fight against COVID-19 is not over, and each of us has an important role to play during this crisis.

One simple and cost-effective precaution each of us can take is wearing a mask in public spaces, as overwhelming evidence shows that wearing a mask helps prevent the spread of 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%. Modeling from the University of Washington similarly indicates that more than 40,000 lives would be spared nationwide if 95% of the population wore a mask while in public. And a study conducted by Goldman Sachs concluded that a federal mask mandate could save the U.S. economy from taking a 5% hit to GDP.

Most importantly, wearing a mask protects you, those you care about, and others you come in contact with.  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), COVID-19 spreads easily between people, most often via “respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.” Evidence (which can be found at www.cdc.gov and www.michigan.gov/coronavirus) shows that almost 40% of COVID-19 cases are asymptomatic, meaning the disease can be transmitted by infected people without their knowing. Once caught, the disease itself can result in severe illness and death, and currently, there is no vaccine. As the evidence shows, it is more important than ever to wear a mask.

That is why I issued Executive Order 2020-153, an order requiring individuals to wear a face covering whenever they are in an indoor public space or a crowded outdoor space. Additionally, the order requires businesses to protect the public by refusing service to any customer not wearing a face covering, if they can medically tolerate one, and to post signs at entrances instructing customers of their obligation to wear a face covering. You can read the order and find out more about wearing a face covering at www.michigan.gov/coronavirus.

Local law enforcement is responsible for enforcing all laws, including executive orders, which have the force of law. Violations of Executive Order 2020-153 and other executive orders should be reported to local law enforcement. In addition, if you believe your employer is failing to take the proper precautions to protect employees from exposure to various threats, the COVID-19 virus included, you can learn how to file a complaint with MIOSHA online here: Michigan.gov/MIOSHAcomplaint.

If you have further questions or concerns regarding the executive orders, employee rights, or business reopening, I would like to encourage you to consult the following resources and guidance:

•        The Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) COVID-19 workplace safety guidance: www.Michigan.gov/covidworkplacesafety 

•        The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) workplace safety and health hotline: 855-SAFEC19 (855-723-3219)

•        The State Bar of Michigan COVID-19 Rapid Response Helpline: (800) 968-0738, and legal resource and referral center: https://lrs.michbar.org/

•        Suitable Work and Refusal of Work guidance for workers and employers: https://www.michigan.gov/leo/0,5863,7-336-78421_97241_98585_100420---,00.html

•        Assistance for businesses looking to acquire non-medical grade personal protection equipment (PPE): www.michiganbusiness.org/ppe/ 

The COVID-19 outbreak has meant loss and sorrow for thousands of families in Michigan. These are challenging times, and my sincerest thanks goes out to Michiganders who are making incredible sacrifices and sustaining unpredictable changes to their daily lives. We must continue to do what we can to stay safe. We all have an important role during this crisis, and now more than ever, Michiganders must band together and look out for one another.

For more information about the state’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, and for a full list of my executive orders, please visit www.michigan.gov/coronavirus. If you have any health-related questions, please call the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) hotline at 888-535-6136 or send an email to covid19@michigan.gov. Additionally, should you need any assistance with state government during these difficult times, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (517) 335-7858.

Sincerely,

Gretchen Whitmer

Governor of Michigan

Please do not respond directly to this e-mail. This e-mail account is not monitored. You may contact Governor Whitmer’s office by calling 517-335-7858 or online at https://www.michigan.gov/whitmer