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“Ball’s In Your Court” PSA: Tom Izzo, Mel Tucker & Suzy Merchant join Gov. Whitmer’s fight to urge Michigan residents to wear masks in new video

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From left to right: Suzy Merchant, Kim Barnes Arico, Gov. Whitmer, Lt. Gov. Gilchrist, Tom Izzo and Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. 
Governor Whitmer’s Communications Office

Today, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was joined by a few surprise guests at her 3 p.m. EST press conference. Michigan State head men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo, along with MSU head women’s basketball coach Suzy Merchant, and University of Michigan head women’s basketball coach Kim Barnes Arico, will accompany Gov. Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II in an effort to urge Michigan residents to buy into mask-wearing mandates to fight against the spread of COVID-19.

“It doesn’t matter who you root for or who you vote for, I am encouraging everyone to wear a mask,” Izzo said, via press release. “It’s simple, but we all have to commit to it to make it work. This is a decision about the health of each person and the health of our greater community. Wearing a mask will protect you and can help save lives.”

Izzo, Merchant, and Barnes Arico helped to unveil a new television public service announcement released by the state of Michigan, entitled “Ball’s In Your Court,” which promotes wearing face coverings/masks. While they will not attend the press conference, the video also features Michigan State football head coach Mel Tucker, Michigan football head coach Jim Harbaugh, and Michigan men’s basketball head coach Juwan Howard. This is an important issue for each coach, as safety is a top priority for them and their players, and a delayed or canceled season is obviously not ideal for their respective programs. The collective message from the head coaches is one of unity amongst the rival schools.

“We are all in this together — as one team, whether that is Maize and Blue or Green and White,” Howard said, via press release. “Wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and washing your hands are easy steps to help us all succeed. Let’s all do our part to be safe and stay healthy.”

Suzy Merchant had this to say:

“We are all in this fight together, and one of the best ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19 is to wear a mask,” Merchant said, via press release. “We all want to get back on the court, return to school, and to get back to cheering on our favorite teams, so we all have to do our part. As a parent and a coach, I firmly believe that there is nothing more important than making sure that we keep our kids safe and healthy. We all have to make sure we mask up, Michigan!”

Kim Barnes Arico shared a similar sentiment:

“As a parent and a coach, there is nothing more important to me than the health and safety of our children and community,” Barnes Arico said, via press release. “Whether you live in Ann Arbor, East Lansing, or Northern Michigan, we are all on the same team in this fight. Together, we can mask up for Michigan and make a difference.”

Last week, Gov. Whitmer signed executive order 2020-147, which continues to require individuals to wear a face covering whenever they are in an indoor public space. It also requires the use of face coverings in crowded outdoor spaces. Additionally, the order requires any business that is open to the public to refuse entry or service to people who refuse to wear a face covering, with limited exceptions. Governors in the states of Kansas, Maine, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Washington have imposed similar requirements.

“If we all work together as a team and wear our masks now, we can put our state in a stronger position for kids to return to school safely in the fall,” Gov. Whitmer said. “Masks can reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19 by about 70 percent, and it’s been proven that masking up can protect our small businesses and our economy. By wearing masks, we can save lives and protect our family, friends, and the heroes on the front lines from the spread of COVID-19. This is going to be a team effort, but I know Michigan is up to the challenge. Let’s all mask up when we’re out in public.”

Whitmer, who also recently extended the state of emergency declaration through Aug. 11, gave updates on the what the state continues to do to stop the spread of the coronavirus at today’s press conference.

“It’s simple – wearing a mask saves lives,” Chief Medical Executive and DHHS Chief Deputy for Health Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, said. “As we continue working around the clock to fight this virus, it’s crucial that all Michiganders step up and do their part by wearing a mask and practicing safe physical distancing. Let’s all work together as a team and remain vigilant and flexible in this fight.”

You can watch the press conference on Facebook or Twitter:

Governor Whitmer Provides Update on State's Response to COVID-19

The live stream will begin at 2:55 p.m. and the press conference will begin at 3 p.m.

Posted by Michigan State Police on Wednesday, July 15, 2020

“As Michiganders, we will do anything to support our team. But right now, we need to come together as one to ensure that we ‘Mask Up, Michigan,’” Lt. Governor Gilchrist II said. “If we all take appropriate and responsible actions now, we can slow the spread of this virus, save lives, and be in a better position to get back to the rivalries that we know and love.”