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Mask requirements could be eliminated for Livingston County buildings

LIVINGSTON COUNTY, Mich. – The mask debate has found its way to Livingston County.

Commissioners there approved a resolution to rescind the mandatory mask rule inside county buildings.

Months ago, the Livingston County Board of Commissioners approved a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan.

It included a mandatory mask rule for those working and visiting county buildings. However, now that the Michigan Supreme Court struck down emergency rules issued by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer some commissioners believe the mask mandate should be rescinded.

Everywhere you look in Howell people are wearing masks.

Since May it’s been mandatory to wear a mask inside county buildings, but County Commissioner Wes Nakagiri says that rule should be revisited.

“We’ve flattened the curve enough to back off the mandatory use of masks," said Nakagiri.

Nakagiri introduced a resolution this week in a county commission subcommittee. It states the mask mandate inside county buildings was predicated on unconstitutional orders from the governor.

Nakagiri says his constituents in district three have contacted him questioning the effectiveness of the masks, and the health of their kids who wear them.

Livingston County’s death rate per 100,000 people is in the 15-16 range.

Per data from the State of Michigan about 181,000 people live in Livingston County. There have been 1,507 coronavirus cases and 32 deaths.

Nakagiri says other counties with higher COVID-19 numbers may want to have a mask mandate inside county buildings but here he believes it’s not warranted.

“I would leave it up to the own individual to make the decision,” he said.

“Yes and no. Yes as long as they are six feet away from me and not touching. No if we have to be super close,” said Michigan resident, Ayanna Fortner.

The resolution was passed 4-0. It now goes to the full board on Tuesday, Oct 13. Public participation is encouraged via Zoom.

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 133,134 as of Friday, including 6,876 deaths, state officials report.

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