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Northern Michigan health department says it can't force mask mandate

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Courtesy nwhealth.org
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A northern Michigan health department says it’s struggling to make a local market follow a state executive order. This Antrim County business may have also been a COVID-19 exposure site.

Dozens of people called the Health Department of Northwest Michigan to complain that Friske Farm Market didn’t require masks.

It made the health department issue a public health order in early August threatening the store’s license.

But the market said it wouldn’t comply and filed a lawsuit against the health department and the state.

Health Officer Lisa Peacock says she’s concerned about the public health risk at the store but right now her hands are tied.

“We are waiting for further direction from the state, the attorney general, and the governor’s office, and MDHHS on enforcement because it does continue to be a problem,” said Peacock.

The health department recently listed the market as a possible COVID-19 public exposure site when someone sick shopped there last week.

An owner of the market says that person had a low risk of transmitting the virus.

He says the few cases of COVID-19 in the county shouldn’t necessitate masks.