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Published in Economic Development
Tommy Brann Tommy Brann COURTESY PHOTO

West Michigan lawmaker calls for mask requirement as COVID-19 surges

BY Tuesday, November 24, 2020 11:02am

A West Michigan Republican state lawmaker is calling for a state law requiring masks in indoor spaces and crowded outdoor areas as COVID-19 cases surge and strain hospital capacity.

State Rep. Tommy Brann, R-Wyoming, joined Dr. Rob Davidson of the Committee to Protect Medicare in calling for the mask mandate today as West Michigan sees some of the highest case rates in the state and hospital officials call for more public vigilance against the virus.

“The public health facts in West Michigan are changing rapidly and for the worse,” Brann said in a statement. “Our family members, friends, and neighbors are becoming sick and dying at unprecedented rates, and our community hospitals are reaching a breaking point. From hospital CEOs to frontline medical workers, the people I talk to from West Michigan are asking for help.”

Brann’s announcement matches the sentiment among West Michigan executives and business professionals in a recent MiBiz survey. In a survey last week of nearly 400 readers, 73 percent “support a statewide mask mandate for all indoor gatherings in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.” A mask mandate and limiting indoor gatherings were among the top three measures respondents said should be taken to help control the spread of COVID-19.

Additionally 73 percent of respondents agreed with economists who say the economy won’t fully recover “until the virus is under control.” (The survey results are available here.)

The owner and operator of Brann’s Steakhouse & Grille restaurants, Brann called a bipartisan mask requirement an opportunity for state residents to “take this simple, effective precaution more seriously. As a small business owner, requiring everyone to wear masks can help small businesses operate more safely while protecting our customers, employees and communities during this terrible pandemic.”

Davidson, who ran as the Democratic candidate in the 2018 race for Michigan’s 2nd Congressional District, said masks and social distancing are “far and away the best tool we have to stop the exponential growth of COVID-19 cases and get our state back on track.”

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