While Gov. Gretchen Whitmer can no longer require masks in Michigan's public spaces, many local businesses are choosing to keep the practice in place.
While Gov. Gretchen Whitmer can no longer require masks in Michigan's public spaces, many local businesses are choosing to keep the practice in place.

Michigan’s business community is vowing to keep safety “a top priority” for customers after the state of emergency ends. Here’s how.

LANSING, MI — Michigan’s Supreme Court has struck down Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s emergency orders, declaring that the state’s highest elected executive official acted outside of the bounds of her authority when she instituted lifesaving coronavirus protections.

Soon, masks and other preventative measures to help slow the pandemic’s spread will no longer be required across the state. But Michigan’s business community is speaking out about the importance of protecting customers and themselves until the pandemic is over. 

“I understand that they [the Court] have to accommodate people in other parts of Michigan,” said Janet Webster Jones, owner of Source Booksellers in Detroit. “But we want people to wear masks and we have a sanitation station at the door.”

READ MORE: Michigan to Become the Only State Not Recognizing a Coronavirus State of Emergency

The latest data released by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) shows that Detroit alone makes up 14,500 of Wayne County’s 33,200 confirmed coronavirus cases. 

Required masks are a safety precaution that Jen Eastridge also plans to continue to practice for her Ypsilanti business.

“We are definitely adopting a mask requirement until further notice, regardless of what is overturned,” she told The ‘Gander. “Our top priority is the health and safety of everyone, staff and customers included.” 

Eastridge owns Unicorn Feed & Supply in Ypsilanti, and was one of the first Michigan entrepreneurs to wear a mask with a plastic shield that allowed customers to see her facial expressions.

Filling the Void

Cities with dense populations like Flint and Grand Rapids have been especially hard hit by the virus with some 4,000 and 9,000 cases confirmed in Genesee and Kent Counties, respectively.

Elected officials throughout the state are flexing their own executive powers in response to the Supreme Court’s decision. Oakland County Executive David Coulter is requiring masks throughout Michigan’s second-largest county. And many businesses across the state are requiring customers and employees to wear masks, despite the lack of judicial support.

“Health and science experts agree that facial coverings are critical to controlling the virus,” Coulter said. “We have come too far to backslide now especially as we want to get kids back to school and our economy moving again.” 

RELATED: Biden Follows Coronavirus Safety Measures in Michigan. Here’s Why That Matters.

Oakland County expects its mask requirement to help keep residents and visitors safe while in public.

“In Oakland County, masks will continue to be mandatory by order of our health experts,” Coulter said. “I am confident that our residents and businesses will continue to keep each other safe and protected.”

NEWS RELEASE: Oakland County Public Health Oakland Officer Leigh-Anne Stafford has issued local health order 2020-12 to…

Posted by Executive Office, Oakland County, Michigan on Saturday, October 3, 2020

Gov. Whitmer is encouraging Michiganders to remain vigilant in their protection against the virus, writing, in part, that she knows “this is hard” for residents on Twitter.

“I know it will be an adjustment,” Gov. Whitmer’s statement read. “But we can’t let our guard down. COVID-19 is still a real threat to our families and frontline workers. The virus doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, a Republican or a Democrat, young or old. Let’s all be smart and stay safe.”

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