Mask mandates not likely coming back to Michigan, Ohio

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 11:42 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Don’t expect mask mandates to come back to Michigan or Ohio, despite the CDC updating its face-covering guidance.

Governors in both states this week have rejected the idea of reimplementing the mandates that have raised tensions in their legislatures within the last year and a half.

“The ability to keep people safe at this juncture is on all of us,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-Mich.) on Monday.

She would have to work with the Republican-controlled legislature on a future mask mandate, something she didn’t have to do at the start of the pandemic. Meanwhile, in Ohio, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine could have a new mask mandate rescinded by the Republican-controlled legislature.

It passed a bill earlier this year giving lawmakers the power to reverse any state or local health order. DeWine vetoed the bill, but it was overturned.

He said this week when talking about the decision to not mandate masks in schools that he doesn’t feel Ohioans wouldn’t support the measure again.

“There’s not the appetite in the state to do it,” DeWine said. “I do not effectively have the ability to do that.”

Ohio and Michigan are recommending schools mandate masks for this year but leaving the final decisions up to local leaders.

Rep. Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo) said Tuesday she’s concerned that the actions by adults will have a negative impact on kids this school year.

“If we have Ohioans who don’t want to get vaccinated, Ohioans who don’t want to wear their masks, Ohioans who don’t want to be socially distanced, than we’re going to have some rocky roads this school year.”

Rep. Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon) believes a mask mandate isn’t necessary for the entire state. He does support the idea for people in certain industries but said the decision is largely up to individuals at this stage in the pandemic.

“I think you’re going to have to deal with your own conscience and see if that’s the right thing for you to do, and see if it’s the right thing to do for your neighbor,” Sheehy said.

Both representatives said they will still have their masks at the statehouse when lawmakers return from their summer break. Masks haven’t been mandated for legislators in Columbus.

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