Lansing mayor reverses himself and reinstates mask mandate at City Hall

Schor: ‘I acted too quickly’ in lifting universal mask protocol

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THURSDAY, Nov. 18 — Lansing Mayor Andy Schor has decided to reinstate a universal mask mandate at City Hall while COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the state and the Midwest.

“I certainly want employees to be safe and feel safe in City Hall, and over the last few days I have listened to the comments of the experts and those in the city who believe this is not the right time to revise safety protocols,” Schor said in a statement yesterday. “With the county at substantial and high status and with the holidays coming soon and people travelling, now was not the best time to remove the mask mandate, even for those fully vaccinated in City Hall.”

Schor faced criticism on Monday for relaxing the universal mask mandate last week — requiring only that unvaccinated employees wear masks inside the building.Meanwhle, McLaren and Sparrow hospitals both neared capacity with at least 144 Ingham County residents hospitalized with COVID-19.

Against the advice of County Health Officer Linda Vail, Schor doubled down on the recent changes yesterday morning — noting that more city staffers would have to get sick before the mandate could return. And later that evening — after another conversation with Vail — he changed his mind and decided to reinstate the mask requirement for all staff and visitors.

Under the latest policy, employees can still choose to remove their masks at their individual work stations, but they’ll otherwise be required of everyone inside public spaces at City Hall.

“I certainly want to be responsive to the experts, employees, and public that look to me and the city of Lansing for leadership,” Schor explained. “Like so many city residents and employees, I want this pandemic to be over and move beyond mask requirements and I acted too quickly.”

Schor’s office couldn’t cite how many city employees have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Guidelines published by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Ingham County Health Department all recommend masks be worn indoors in areas of the country federally designated as “high” risk.

Every county in Michigan (and across most of the Midwest) was still ranked in the CDC’s “high risk” category for coronavirus transmission this week — which specifically comes along with guidance to implement indoor mask mandates in public. In Ingham County, that was evidenced by 1,023 COVID-19 cases and 10 related deaths tracked last week, according to state data.

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