Governor Whitmer’s latest order requiring masks goes into effect today, and you can be fined up to $500 for not wearing one. The order requires wearing a mask when in a public indoor space. It also requires a mask in crowded outdoor spaces. In recent weeks, the state has seen an uptick in cases, and we now exceed 20 cases per million in the Grand Rapids, Detroit, and Lansing regions.

Research has shown the reason is spotty compliance with the order that people must wear face coverings in public places. Studies have shown that wearing a mask can save lives and significantly lover an individual’s chance of spreading 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 shows that more than 40,000 lives would be spared nationwide if 95% of the population wore a mask while in public.

Masks have been a very contentious subject with many people in America, with many feeling it violates their rights to be forced to wear a mask. The President of the United States was seen wearing one for the first-time last week while visiting Walter Reed Army hospital. And now we have Van Buren County Sheriff Daniel Abbott, who has publicly said he will not enforce Governor Whitmer's mask order. Detroit Free Press reports “The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office will strive to protect its citizens and ensure that the constitutional rights and civil liberties given to every American are protected. We will dedicate our services to investigating crimes against persons and property and we will not pull valuable resources away from that to investigate complaints against the governor’s executive orders,” a statement from Abbott to MLive reads.

The Sheriff also said anyone who wants to report mask order violations should call the State Police or the State Attorney General's office. Sheriff Abbott did say he wears a mask and believes people should follow the CDC’s mask guidelines.

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