Michigan Retailers Association: Wear mask to shop, don’t blame employees

Masks required in indoor public spaces

A shopper walks down an isle at a local super market, Friday, May 29, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. As if trips to the grocery store weren't nerve-racking enough, shoppers lately have seen the costs of meat, eggs and even potatoes soar as the coronavirus has disrupted processing plants and distribution networks. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
A shopper walks down an isle at a local super market, Friday, May 29, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. As if trips to the grocery store weren't nerve-racking enough, shoppers lately have seen the costs of meat, eggs and even potatoes soar as the coronavirus has disrupted processing plants and distribution networks. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The Michigan Retailers Association is telling shoppers to mask up while shopping to abide by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s order.

And not to blame store employees, if you disagree with the order.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an Executive Order on Friday that requires masks in indoor public spaces and some crowded outdoor spaces. The order also requires businesses to deny entry to those who refuse to wear a mask.

Bill Hallan, President and CEO of Michigan Retailers Association released this statement on the order:

“Wearing a mask is an easy way to support and appreciate retail workers, and Michigan Retailers Association encourages all individuals to wear a mask when they shop in our great state. While retailers and retail employees appreciate Gov. Whitmer’s efforts to increase the number of residents wearing masks when in enclosed, public spaces, we are frustrated that she did not leave the policing to law enforcement officers. This puts retail employees in potentially dangerous situations when they’re forced to confront unmasked customers.

Notably, the order includes various exemptions, and it still allows individuals to enter a public space without a mask if they cannot medically tolerate it. Determining the validity of an ambiguous exemption is an impossible task for a retailer. And now, even retailers acting in good faith could be subject to severe licensing sanctions based on the actions of non-compliant customers.

We worry for retail employees’ safety and disagree with the overly aggressive penalties for retailers. When shopping, please wear a mask and understand that retailers are not to blame for the state’s mask requirement. Shopping has proven to be a safe activity, we can keep it safe and retail doors open by wearing a mask and being respectful of others.”

The executive order takes effect at 12:01am on Monday, July 13.

A willful violation of the order is a misdemeanor subject to a $500 criminal penalty, but no term of confinement may be imposed on individuals who violate the mask requirement. No individual is subject to penalty under the order for removing a mask while engaging in religious worship at a house of religious worship, although consistent with guidance from the CDC, congregants are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings during religious services.


About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital special projects manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013.