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Confused yet? Businesses Have To Deal With Three Government Directives In Five Days Over Face Masks

In the space of five days, the businesses of Michigan have had to act on three different government directives regarding face masks. These directives have asked them to evaluate medical conditions of customers, but not to the point of violating complicated state and federal laws regarding disabilities. And if the businesses get it wrong, they are committing a misdemeanor.

At 1:42 p.m. July 17, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer put out another executive order. This one requires businesses to challenge those people not wearing a face mask for alleged medical reasons. The previous executive order on face masks was four days old when it was rescinded by the new one.

“Businesses may not assume that an unmasked customer cannot medically tolerate a face covering, though they may accept a customer’s verbal representation to that effect,” Whitmer’s order states.

About 90 minutes later, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights put out a press release, cautioning businesses not to violate federal and state disability laws when they turn people away for not wearing a face mask.

“It is important to remember that along with Executive Orders and specific store policies, businesses and other public spaces must continue to follow the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Michigan’s Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act (PWDCRA) during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mary Engelman, interim director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. “We must ensure that people with disabilities are able to access the same goods and services that we all enjoy.”