By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
Face mask compliance in public places, per the governor’s executive order, began this week, and local law enforcement personnel hope warnings will encourage compliance more than the threat of citations.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-147 states that public businesses must refuse entry and service to people not wearing a face mask. Designed to keep employees and
customers safe, the order is also aimed at limiting the person-to-person spread of COVID-19.
Wyandotte Deputy Police Chief Archie Hamilton said that while they fully intend to enforce any executive order issued by the governor, their primary objective is to gain compliance.
“Our agency would prefer to educate individuals in lieu of citing them,” he said. “We would much rather see citizens use their hard-earned money for local goods and services in an effort to bolster the economy, rather than pay fines.”
Hamilton said that since there are exemptions to the mandatory mask order, it is crucial that people avoid jumping to conclusions.
“It’s important to keep an open mind and refrain from making preconceived notions when a person is not wearing a mask,” he said.
Melvindale Police Chief John Allen said he trusts his police officers to exercise their best judgement.
“Our officers have discretion, and I will leave it up to their discretion on whether or not a warning or a citation is needed.”
Taylor Police Chief John Blair favors a similar approach.
“We will enforce, but I would rather get voluntary compliance,” he said.
Allen Park Police Chief James Wilkewitz said his department’s mask policy will mirror its stance on social distancing.
“First, attempt to inform and gain voluntary compliance,” he said. “We will cite people who, after being advised to, refuse to wear a mask or cause a disturbance at the place of business.”
For updates on the outbreak, go to Michigan.gov/coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.