After being sued by a non-profit, high school athletes, and their families, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has lifted the state’s ban on contact sports.
“And while it’s important that we remain cautious, and adhere to safety protocols to prevent this virus from spreading once more, thanks to our efforts over these last few months – and I mean our efforts, all of our efforts – we are now ready to take a few steps forward in returning to some normal day-to-day activities,” Whitmer said in a Thursday press conference.
“Today the [Michigan Department of Health and Human Services] is issuing an epidemic order to allow in-person practice and competition for sports leagues starting on Monday, February 8,” she continued.
Originally, the executive order banning contact sports was set to last until February 21.
But as reported by The Michigan Star, Whitmer was sued earlier this week over the ban.
The lift on the ban comes only one day after Let Them Play, Inc., a non-profit, along with the Michigan Amateur Youth Hockey League and players and parents of high school athletes, filed a lawsuit against Whitmer asking the courts to allow the for the resumption of play.
“In part, the lawsuit argues that Whitmer is arbitrarily discriminating against high school athletes, as professional sports in the state have been allowed to continue to play,” The Star reported. “Professional sports teams are required to adhere to enhanced COVID-19 guidelines laid out by Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). Adhering to such guidelines would be impossible for high schools and their athletes.”
Saturday, a “Let Them Play” rally was held at the Michigan Capitol, where thousands protested the contact sports ban.
But according to Michigan Live, when asked whether the “Let Them Play” rally or lawsuit had anything to do with lifting the ban, Whitmer denied that was the case, and said the decision was purely scientific.
“The fact of the matter is, if anyone watched how I conducted myself and the way that we have navigated COVID, it’s that we have been absolutely committed to following the science,” she reportedly said.
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