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Michigan mask law backed by Republican lawmaker as pandemic continues

Rep. Tommy Brann of Wyoming said he consulted with doctors and health care experts and concluded a mask law is the right course of action for now.

WYOMING, Mich. — A Republican lawmaker who has been at odds with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is supporting her call for a bipartisan bill requiring masks to be worn in indoor places and crowded outdoor areas.

“We need to unify government, be on the same team to be able to say, ‘let’s get this over with,’’’ Rep. Tommy Brann, R-Wyoming, said Wednesday.

Brann says an existing health department order requiring people to wear masks in many public venues should be Michigan law until the coronavirus pandemic is brought under control.

“It’s not permanent,’’ Brann said. “We just need to come together and get it under control.’’

Brann, who owns a steakhouse in Wyoming, said small businesses have been hit particularly hard. Mask use, he said, will slow the spread of the virus and save lives.

A reduction in COVID-19 cases, he said, will also expedite a return to normal.

“I’ve always tried to be a good, honest person and not let anybody down,’’ he said. “But I put my right hand up and took an oath to protect the safety and the health of the Michigan people. And I take that seriously, as I should.’’

Dr. Rob Davidson, an emergency room physician who ran for state office as a Democrat, joined Brann in calling for the mask law.

“Masks, along with physical 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,’’ Davidson said in a media release.  

Davidson noted that bipartisan mask rules are cropping up around the Midwest. “We applaud every elected official who steps up to the plate to protect their communities on this issue,’’ he said in the release.

Brann said he did his homework before supporting a mask law. He said he talked with Metro Health President/CEO Dr. Peter Hahn and state Sen. John Bizon, R-Battle Creek, a doctor.

“It’s the doctors I trust, and the nurses I trust,’’ Brann said. “And every doctor and nurse I talk to says masks do save lives.’’

Whitmer earlier this month called on lawmakers to pass a law requiring residents to wear masks in indoor places and crowded outdoor areas.

"We have a common enemy, and it is COVID-19, not one another,’’ Whitmer said in a statement at the time. “This pandemic has ravaged our state. We are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

“I’m ready to work with the legislature to keep our families safe,’’ the statement read.

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