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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke April 14, 2020

Michiganders aren’t banned from buying American flags

If Your Time is short

  • In Michigan, an executive order requires businesses to close areas of the store that are dedicated to carpet, flooring, furniture, garden center and plant nurseries and paint.
     
  • Michiganders aren’t prohibited from buying American flags.
 

Since the first COVID-19 cases were identified in Michigan in March, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has tapped her emergency powers to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

A recent blog post on TeaParty.org claims that includes prohibiting Michiganders from buying American flags. 

"And there it is…" reads the post’s headline. "Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer bans buying US flags during lockdown."

The post features an April 11 tweet that shows a photo of American flags behind yellow caution tape. "No buying flags in MI," the tweet says. "This is Costco." 

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

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Citing "deaths in the hundreds" and "confirmed cases in the thousands," Whitmer, a Democrat elected to her office in 2018, issued executive order 2020-42 to take effect on April 9, 2020. The order, described as a "temporary requirement to suspend activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life," does not mention flags. It does direct people to stay home, with exceptions, and requires businesses that remain open for in-person sales to follow rules including limiting how many people can be in a store at the same time. 

The order also requires businesses to close areas of the store — "by cordoning them off, placing signs in aisles, posting prominent signs, removing goods from shelves, or other appropriate means" — that are dedicated to carpet, flooring, furniture, garden center and plant nurseries and paint. Flags are not listed, but they’re addressed at the top of a "frequently asked questions" page on the governor’s website.

Q. Does Executive Order 2020-42 prohibit buying an American flag? 

A: No. While the order places certain limits on how goods are sold, it does not ban Michiganders from buying any item, including flags. 

Shelter-in-place orders around the country have disrupted daily life and in some cases made it more difficult to obtain everything from toilet paper to appliances. It’s possible that it could be harder for someone in Michigan, or other states, to buy an American flag. But that’s different from the governor banning residents from making such a purchase. 

We rate this blog post False.

 

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Michiganders aren’t banned from buying American flags

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