Michigan still has one of the strictest mask mandates in the country — which hasn’t helped it curb its COVID spread in recent weeks.
Any noncompliance “is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or a fine of not more than $200.00, or both,” according to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s latest “Gatherings and Face Mask Order” that takes effect Monday.
Now, parents could be held criminally responsible for any masking noncompliance on the part of their young children as well.
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s “Michigan Capitol Confidential” column reported Friday that Whitmer’s revised orders now mandate that children between the ages of 2 and 4 wear masks at any gathering.
In the past, children under the age of 5 were exempt from Whitmer’s orders.
The order defines a gathering as “any occurrence, either indoor or outdoor, where two or more persons from more than one household are present in a shared space.” This applies to everything from a few families allowing their kids to play together in the park to organized sports (which are subject to additional restrictions).
“This [order] addresses the increase in cases among younger Michiganders and follows recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance,” the column reported, citing Michigan officials.
“A good faith effort is made to ensure that children aged 2 to 4 years wear a mask when participating in gatherings,” the order states.
In line with medical guidelines stating that mask-wearing is unhealthy for children under the age of 2, Whitmer’s orders regarding gatherings do not apply to children younger than that.
The reaction from many on social media was swift and vicious:
because 2 year olds wearing masks is going to CURE us for sure! 😟🥺😣🥴
— Dee 2020 FORTIFIED! (@DeezInDetroit) April 17, 2021
Michigan continues to descend into the abyss of madness
No, Elmo, you’re in a blue state pic.twitter.com/aD6AGtQ5pN
— Doriano Paisano Carta (@Paisano) April 17, 2021
In other words a stay at home order for anyone with children
— commonsensical (@filterfreeme2) April 17, 2021
Here comes that 5th wave…of people moving to Florida
— Miller🍄hippie (@forty_six_and2) April 17, 2021
Residents of the Wolverine State are right to be angry. Whitmer’s response to the coronavirus has already been scandalous — potentially even criminal. It’s also apparently had precious little effect on actually preventing Michiganders from contracting COVID-19.
Her latest order is both frightening and ridiculous.
First of all, parents have a hard enough time wrangling their young children as it is. Not only does requiring young children to wear masks add extra and unnecessary complexity to parenting, it does so with the force of law behind it.
A parent should not be threatened with a fine or arrest for having difficulty getting a kid to wear a mask in the park. While it is unlikely that the law would be enforced in this manner, the fact that it could be is terrifying enough.
Furthermore, Michigan’s nanny-state mentality has simply gone too far — especially in light of recent news that the state government is considering making some of their inane COVID restrictions permanent. It is not the state’s responsibility — beyond the immediate protection of a child’s rights — to tell parents how they should be parenting.
The madness needs to end, and it needs to end soon. Otherwise, states like Michigan will be content to perpetuate the pandemic mentality forever.
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