U.P. delegation seeks clarification on Whitmer order requiring athletes ‘mask up’ 

LANSING, Mich. — The bipartisan delegation of lawmakers representing the Upper Peninsula in the Legislature on Monday submitted a letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer seeking clarification on Executive Orders 2020-176 and 2020-180, which allowed organized sports practices and competitions to resume but also require athletes wear a face mask at all times.

“Gov. Whitmer’s executive orders allowing sports to resume was a good development. However, the decision to require student athletes to wear face masks all the time is creating confusion and resentment,” said Sens. Ed McBroom and Wayne Schmidt and Reps. Sara Cambensy, Beau LaFave and Greg Markkanen. “Throughout the country, and the world, athletes are safely practicing and competing without face masks. That this administration would require them for all athletes all the time is not only confusing for students, parents and coaches, but it also contradicts Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization recommendations.”

The letter, which requests the governor provide health data and the scientific foundation for making the decision and specifically how wearing masks while under the extreme exertions of athletic competition is safe and healthy for student athletes.

The lawmakers cite a World Health Organization recommendation, which indicates wearing a mask during exercising can make breathing uncomfortable. The delegation also references data analysis from Football Scoop, which indicated no significant increase in COVID-19 infection rates across 15 states that have been playing football without masks for the past two to four weeks.

“We humbly request you provide the justification and basis you are using or reconsider this decision as soon as possible,” concludes the letter signed by the five lawmakers.

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