Fact Check: Did Michigan’s Governor Ban the Sale of American Flags?

Robert Brooks Contributor
Fact Check: Did Michigan’s Governor Ban the Sale of American Flags?
Read Time: approx. 1:12

Tag This ClaimOn the back of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order regarding the state’s shelter-in-place ordinance, one Michigan resident posted a photo on Twitter claiming there is no “buying flags” in the state.

🚩 Flag This As: FALSE

Background: The original photo was posted by Twitter user Pure Michigan Girl and functions as the sole piece of evidence for this claim. The photo of origin shows a set of American flags behind caution tape.

Background & Research: On April 9, 2020, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-42 into law. The executive order is meant to help the Midwestern state prevent the spread of the coronavirus, specifically through prolonged social distancing. The executive order extends Michigan’s shelter-in-place policy to May 1st and addresses other regulations as they apply to businesses in the state. For example, the executive order states that:

“…all individuals currently living within the State of Michigan are ordered to stay at home or at their place of residence. Subject to the same exceptions, all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring among persons not part of a single household are prohibited.”

For businesses, the executive order outlines that:

“… stores of less than 50,000 square feet of customer floor space, [must] limit the number of people in the store (including employees) to 25% of the total occupancy limits established by the State Fire Marshal or a local fire marshal.”


“For stores of more than 50,000 square feet: 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 the following classes of goods:

A) Carpet or flooring.
B) Furniture.
C) Garden centers and plant nurseries.
D) Paint.”

This cordoning zone, pictured above, is what led to the confusion and misleading claim about banning the sale of American Flags. Just because the Flags are behind the yellow tape, they are not banned as evidenced by the FAQ section to the Executive Order, which states:

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.

The Takeaway: The sale of American Flags is not banned in Michigan, this was a false and misleading claim.