(USA Features) The Michigan Department of Health has issued new guidance requiring children as young as two years old in the state to begin wearing masks while in public.
Elizabeth Hertel, Michigan’s health director, said the expanded mandate was latest example of the “smart health policies and mitigation measures” the state has implemented as a way to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The new mandate is set to take effect April 26. It extends through May 24.
“This includes the requirement to wear a mask while in public and at gatherings, limits on indoor residential social gatherings larger than 15 people with no more than three households, and expanded testing requirements for youth sports,” Hertel said in a statement.
“Additionally, the most important thing people can do right now is to get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine to protect themselves and their families, and help us eliminate this virus once and for all,” Hertel added.
“I know how hard this year has been on all of us. I know we’re all feeling pandemic fatigue, but we got to remember we’re in this together,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) said. “It’s going to take hard work to beat this virus, but Michiganders are used to hard work and we can beat this virus together.”
The department says the new guidance is in line with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Dr. Matthew Hornik, president of the Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said mask-wearing “significantly reduces the spread of infection and should be part of the comprehensive strategy to reduce COVID-19-including for children age two and up.”
“Use of masks does not restrict oxygen in the lungs even in children, it is recommended to wear a mask with layers to filter droplets effectively,” he said.
Parents are pushing back on the order.
“Very high chance they’re gonna take it off, drop it. It’s gonna get dirty, likely, if it lands on the floor and then they’re supposed to put it back on their face,” Tiffany Teal told WDIV. “I don’t expect him to keep it on all day. I’m not going to force it too much and make him upset.”