State Rep. Kara Hope (D-Holt) introduced a resolution today that would require all individuals to wear a mask within the bar of the House. Current House safety protocols require staff to wear masks while in public areas of the Capitol and House Office Building. This resolution would ensure that Members are following the same protocols that are set for others.
More than 440 thousand Americans — including more than 15 thousand Michigan residents — have died from COVID-19. At least 12 state lawmakers and 37 staffers have tested positive for COVID-19 since March, with one Member, state Rep. Isaac Robinson, having passed away from suspected complications with the virus last year. Due to currently insufficient House protocols, there exists an unacceptable and unnecessary risk of spreading the novel coronavirus at the Michigan Capitol. Wearing a mask is a simple, inexpensive way to effectively reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
“Wearing a mask shows that we care about the people of the state we’re supposed to be serving. It shows that we respect those lost to COVID-19 as well as the medical personnel, first responders and numerous essential staff who have been working since this pandemic began,” said Hope. “We owe it to our staff members, their families and everyone we represent to prevent any further spread at the Capitol.”
This resolution is a reintroduction of Hope’s House Resolution 268 from last May. Despite the urgency of the pandemic and several COVID-19 outbreaks at the Capitol, the resolution did not receive further consideration in the Republican-controlled House.
“The use of face masks is highly effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19. By adding widespread and proper use of face masks to the House safety protocols, it will dramatically reduce the risk for COVID-19 among legislators and their staff,” said Ingham County Health Officer Linda S. Vail. “Not only that, it will show leadership from the House of Representatives. Only through individual actions such as wearing a mask, getting vaccinated and social distancing will we see an end to this pandemic. I encourage legislators to adopt this resolution to prevent illness and send a message that we are united as Michiganders to defeat COVID-19.”