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(WXYZ) — Beginning Monday, Michigan's mask mandate is now in effect for children as young as 2 years old.Kids ages 2-4 are now required to have face coverings while in public spaces and places like camps or daycare centers. Previously, the rule only extended to kids as young as 5.Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the expansion earlier this month in response to a spike in COVID-19 cases among kids.Recent state data shows child infection rates are now higher than they've been at any point during the pandemic.Many know it's going to be a challenge to get kids to wear masks, and it's hard enough convincing some adults and teens to wear them. But at Early On Development in Detroit, administrators are taking a creative approach when it comes to convincing toddlers to keep their faces covered.“I spy with my little eye game. Because most of the children have some colorful masks," Dr. Perdita Terry said.It's an idea Terry said a parent with several kids at her daycare center gave her, and she said it's worked really well in the past few days they've been testing it.“When we’re doing circle time, we kind of do the I spy game," she said. “Can you find a princess or a different color? And that kind of helps keep the children engaged.”Terry said many of her teachers are also opting for clear masks right now so kids can see their expressions.“Our teachers are kind of having our minds at the table here to come up with some more interesting things that we can do for the children," she said.COVID-19 cases among children are rising in the state, and hospitalizations among kids are near the highest they've been since the start of the pandemic.“If kids are at school, at daycare, playing with each other, that’s a way they can take the virus from one place, transport it back to a household where there might be vulnerable people," Beaumont Internal Medicine Physician Dr. Justin Skrzynski said.Household transmission, especially with the U.K. variant cases continuing to climb, is a growing concern for doctors.The head of the Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics is backing the expansion of the mask mandate."We know that wearing a mask significantly reduces the spread of infection and should be part of the comprehensive strategy to reduce COVID-19-including for children age 2 and up….Use of masks does not restrict oxygen in the lungs even in children, it is recommended to wear a mask with layers to filter droplets effectively," he said.Here are ways parents can help make the transition a little easier. Use child-friendly language. Keep it simple and compare it to something they already do, like wearing shoes when they go outside Model mask-wearing. If your toddler sees you do it, they're more likely to also Practice through play. Have your child put a mask on their favorite doll or stuffed animal Let them pick their own mask and get creative“Maybe finding a mask in their favorite color, maybe they have a favorite cartoon character that they could find a mask with that. Anything you can do to get a child to let them make choices… compliant with what we need them to do," Lucy McGoron, an assistant professor of research at Wayne State, added.Another idea is letting your kids pick a place in your home where masks are kept. They can decorate, leave them in charge of keeping it tidy, and make them feel like they're part of the process.Experts warn also to take baby steps and avoid punishment, but rather stick to positive reinforcement for when your child does wear the mask properly.The latest mandate is in effect through May 24.Additional Coronavirus information and resources:View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.
Michigan extends COVID-19 restrictions, strengthens mask mandate for childrenDETROIT (FOX 2) - Restrictions on gathering sizes and how many people can be in an establishment at a time have been extended in Michigan.The COVID-19 restrictions limiting how many people can gather, dine at restaurants, and visit stadiums at a time were set to expire Monday. That order has now been extended through May 24.The extension also strengthens mask mandates for children. Children between the ages of 2-4 must now wear masks.Here are the restrictions currently in effect:Restaurants and barsBars and restaurants can operate at 50% capacity, up to 100 people. They have a curfew of 11 p.m.People are allowed to dine in groups of up to six. Masks and social distancing must be utilized. Entertainment venuesMovie theaters, bowling centers, casinos, and other entertainment venues are allowed to operate at 50%, up to 300 people. Groups of up to 25 people are allowed. Masks and social distancing must be utilized.GymsGyms can operate at 30% capacity. Fitness classes are allowed as long as there is distance between participants.Workout equipment and machines must be spaced at least 6 feet apart and must be cleaned after each use. Masks must be worn during workouts.Retail storesStores can operate at up to 50%. Masks are required.Stadiums and arenasOutdoor stadiums and arenas can fill up to 20% of seating capacity.People who know each other are allowed to be seated in groups of up to six. These groups must be at least 6 feet away from other groups. Entry and exit times must be staggered to reduce contact between patrons. Masks are required.GatheringsIndoor residential gatheringsUp to 15 people from no more than three households are allowed to gather in a home. Masks are required and social distancing should be followed, per state guidance. If you are fully vaccinated, the CDC said you can attend a private gathering with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.You can also visit with one other household of unvaccinated people without a mask as long as no one is considered high-risk.Outdoor residential gatheringsUp to 50 people are allowed. Masks and social distancing are required.Indoor non-residential gatheringsUp to 25 people are allowed. Masks and social distancing are required.Outdoor non-residential gatheringsUp to 300 people are allowed. Masks are required, and attendees should try to keep at least 6 feet of space between people from different households.WorkplacesEmployees who can do their jobs from home should continue to do so.In-person work is allowed when remote work is not possible, but employers must take steps to mitigate the spread of the virus at work.If a business is resuming in-person work, it must have a written COVID-19 preparedness and response plan and provide thorough training to employees that covers workplace infection-control practices, the proper use of personal protection equipment, steps workers must take to notify the business of COVID-19 symptoms or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis, and how to report unsafe working conditions. This order is until Oct. 14, but it could be modified or withdrawn if there are changes in the virus spread.
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