Governor Whitmer has ordered that her recent and controversial mask mandate be enforced like any other law.
The new executive directive, ED 2020-8 states the “Department of State Police must enforce violations of COVID-19 executive orders and epidemic orders in the same manner as it would enforce any other violation of law, using enforcement discretion as appropriate.”
The governor described the enforcement of her previous Emergency Executive Order (EEO) mandating masks as “a key part of ensuring that the resumption of activities does not contribute to the spread of this virus. Without effective enforcement, we will move backwards.”
The original mandate states that “a willful violation of this order is a misdemeanor, but no term of confinement may be imposed for a violation. According to a memorandum by the Baraga County Prosecutor’s office violations of EEOs can result in a fine of up to $500.
As well as authorizing the enforcement of the mask mandate by state police, Executive Directive 2020-08 strengthens the state’s response to the coronavirus. Among several new rules, ED 2020-08 requires state licensing agencies to consider the licensees’ compliance to COVID-19 related executive orders and requires people in leadership positions in state government to view non-compliance as “presumptive evidence of a public health hazard.”
“Ensuring these executive orders are enforced across the state will protect Michigan families, small businesses, and the first responders on the front lines of this crisis,” said Whitmer in a press release.
It appears though that not all law enforcement officials agree with Whitmer’s sentiment. Last month Dan Abbot, the sheriff of Van Buren County said in a Facebook post that his department will not be enforcing the executive orders.
Reports from Michigan Live show that sheriffs across the state have refused to enforce a number of the governor’s executive orders. In a Facebook post from May, the Shiawasee County Sheriff said that the department would not “divert our primary resources to the enforcement of Governor Whitmer’s Executive Orders.”
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Ben Kolodny is a reporter at The Ohio Star and the Star News Network. You can follow Ben on Twitter. Tips can be sent to [email protected]
Photo “Michigan State Police” by Michigan State Police.