Masks to be required in all outdoor spaces in downtown East Lansing beginning Monday
EAST LANSING – Beginning Monday, face coverings will be mandatory in all outdoor public spaces within the boundaries of the East Lansing Downtown Development Authority, city officials said.
Under an order issued Friday by East Lansing Mayor Aaron Stephens, a violation will be a civil infraction punishable by a fine of up to $25.
"This order has been issued in anticipation of the increased foot traffic that is expected ... with the return of MSU students this month," Stephens said in a news release. "COVID-19 is far from over and we, as a community, need to be doing everything we can to protect ourselves and our fellow community members from the virus that causes it."
The East Lansing Downtown Development Authority district runs along Grand River Avenue from just east of Hillsdale Avenue to Hagadorn Road, taking in Valley Court Park, the downtown shopping district and the Cedar Village area, according to a map on the city's website.
Masks are required statewide in all public indoor spaces and crowded outdoor spaces under executive orders from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Stephens' order says masks will be required at all times in all public spaces in the DDA district. It does not apply to children under 5, those who can't medically tolerate a mask and people who are eating or drinking while seated at a dine-in establishment.
It also doesn't apply at polling locations or when people are exercising when a mask would interfere with that activity.
Stephens declared a local state of emergency, allowing him to issue the mask order, officials said in the news release. The order expires after seven days but can be renewed with City Council approval. A special council meeting has been set for Tuesday.
Signs about the new mask order will be posted around the perimeter of the DDA district, officials said The city also plans to start a "a downtown ambassador program" that would encourage mask-wearing, they added.
"With MSU's recent decision to require that masks be worn at all times both indoors and outside on campus, we decided it was prudent to expand that requirement to the outdoor public spaces in our downtown area ...," City Manager George Lahanas said in the news release.
Contact Ken Palmer at (517) 377-1032 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @KBPalm_lsj.