Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), who earned a reputation for imposing extremely strict COVID-19 restrictions, will now sign a bill that bans mask mandates and vaccine passports.
The measures are part of the state’s $70 billion budget bill, which clocks in at 1,000 pages.
“The director or local health officer shall not issue or enforce any orders or other directives that require an individual in this state who is under the age of 18 to wear a face mask or face covering,” part of the bill says.
Still, local school boards will have the ability to impose mask mandates.
But the bill also strips government agencies of the ability to impose vaccine passports on employees or customers, meaning that Michiganders will not have to provide proof of vaccination.
That order is diametrically opposed to President Joe Biden’s controversial federal vaccination mandate, which would require workers at companies that employ more than 100 people to be vaccinated.
Whitmer celebrated the legislature’s agreement on the bill, which she said she will sign before the end of the state’s fiscal year on October 1.
“I am thrilled that the legislature and I were able to come together to agree on a bipartisan budget,” she reportedly said. “Our collaboration is a testament to what’s possible when we work together and put our families, communities, and small businesses first.”
The move may help Whitmer rehabilitate her image after a year-long battle with Republicans in the state over COVID-19 restrictions.
At one point, 400 restaurants banded together to defy her lockdown orders. Hundreds of people also gathered inside the state’s Capitol building to protest the restrictions. Others participated in what protestors termed “Operation Gridlock,” clogging the streets of Lansing with their cars to express their displeasure with Whitmer’s stay-at-home orders.
– – –