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Whitmer: Face coverings required for football, other sports

While swimmers are not required to wear masks, athletes who play sports like football, soccer and volleyball are.

LANSING, Mich. — The use of face coverings in organized sports where social distancing cannot be maintained is now required by law.

Wednesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-180, which clarifies rules regarding face coverings for organized sports during training, practice and competition.

“The COVID-19 virus is easily spread through airborne particles and can affect everyone differently,” Whitmer said. “By wearing a face covering when proper distancing is not possible, athletes will be better protected from contracting the virus and spreading it to family members, frontline workers and vulnerable populations.”

Ultimately, the order requires that face coverings be worn at all times by athletes training for, practicing for or competing in an organized sport when the athlete can’t maintain six feet of social distance.

This means that while swimmers are not required to wear masks, athletes who play sports like football, soccer and volleyball are.

“Individuals have a choice about whether or not to play organized sports. Since contact sports pose a high risk of transmitting COVID-19, MDHHS recommends that people should choose to avoid them,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Chief Medical Executive and MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health.

“For those who do choose to play organized sports, we expect you to follow these strict safety measures and wear a face covering to reduce your risk and protect the health of your teammates, coaches, officials and loved ones.”

Last week, Whitmer signed an order allowing for organized sports practices and competitions to resume. On Sept. 3, the MHSAA reinstated the 2020 football season; football teams may begin regular-season games Sept. 18 and will play six games beginning with their originally-scheduled Week 4 contests.

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