‘This is an order, not a recommendation’: Michigan residents to stay home as COVID-19 spreads

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.  

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order clarifying the rules on face coverings for organized sports during training, practice and competition.   

This order specifies that a face covering must be worn at all times by athletes while training practicing or competing in an organized sport when the athlete cannot maintain 6 feet of social distance. This includes those that participate in football, soccer or volleyball. 

Athletes are not required to wear a face covering if they are swimming.  

Last week, Whitmer signed an executive order that allowed gyms and pools to reopen, along with allowing for organized sports practices and competitions to resume with restrictions. 

Whitmer also signed an executive order outlining strict workplace safety measures gyms and pools must follow to protect people from the spread of COVID-19. 

Additionally, The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) released guidance on organized sports recommending against contact sports. 

It also mentioned the elevated risk associated with activities that involve “shouting, singing, or breathing forcefully.” It noted there have been 30 reported outbreaks associated with athletic clubs, teams, or athletic facilities.  

MDHHS’ guidance also recommends mitigation measures organized sports teams may take to reduce the spread of COVID-19. These recommendations include frequent hand washing, not letting players share towels, clothing, or other items, ensuring proper cleaning and disinfection of objects and equipment, prioritizing outdoor practice and more.   

“We are not out of the woods yet, and COVID-19 is still a persistent threat to our frontline workers, students, and families,” said Chief Medical Executive and MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “Individuals have a choice about whether or not to play organized sports. Since contact sports pose a high risk of transmitting COVID-19, MDHHS recommends that people should choose to avoid them. For those who do choose to play organized sports, we expect you to follow these strict safety measures and wear a face covering to reduce your risk and protect the health of your teammates, coaches, officials, and loved ones.”  

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