Michigan attorney urges residents to 'burn your masks' after Supreme Court strikes down Whitmer's orders

Oct 5, 2020 at 1:22 pm
click to enlarge Michigan residents are required to wear masks in stores. - Steve Neavling
Steve Neavling
Michigan residents are required to wear masks in stores.

The attorney who fought Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s emergency orders before the Michigan Supreme Court is urging residents to “burn your masks.”

Despite overwhelming evidence that masks help curtail the spread of the deadly and highly contagious coronavirus, attorney Katherine Henry is encouraging Michigan residents to destroy their masks and ignore social-distancing measures, despite mounting death tolls.

The court’s decision on Friday “means burn your masks right now if you didn’t already,” she said.

“Open your gym and movie theater and open whatever business you have,” Henry told Fox 2. “Go and frequent whatever business you like to go to. If you have a church that’s limited your services because of how you’re reading the (executive orders), forget that. All of those executive orders, based on COVID-19 circumstances, from 2020, they’re out, they’re gone, they’re done.”

Henry successfully argued that Whitmer lacked the authority to impose emergency orders every 28 days. The conservative-leaning court said COVID-19 restrictions, such as mask mandates, social-distancing measures, and business closures, must be approved by the state Legislature.

The decision, however, doesn't prevent businesses from requiring masks.

Whitmer spokeswoman Tiffany Brown tells Metro Times that Henry's advice is "foolish, dangerous, and reckless."

"This is the height of irresponsibility," Brown said Monday. "As the CDC and virtually every health expert has said, masks are one of the most effective tools we have right now to slow the spread of COVID-19. The governor will continue to follow the science and listen to medical experts to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives."

Whitmer on Friday expressed disappointment with the court’s decision.

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling, handed down by a narrow majority of Republican justices, is deeply disappointing, and I vehemently disagree with the court’s interpretation of the Michigan Constitution,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Right now, every state and the federal government have some form of declared emergency. With this decision, Michigan will become the sole outlier at a time when the Upper Peninsula is experiencing rates of COVID infection not seen in our state since April.”

During Tuesday’s debate, President Donald Trump made fun of Joe Biden for wearing a mask. By Friday, it was revealed that Trump had been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.