FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 9, 2020
Contact: Lynn Sutfin, 517-241-2112
LANSING, Mich. – To help slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of all Michiganders, today, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon issued an Emergency Order under section 2253 of the Public Health Code restricting gathering sizes, requiring face coverings in public spaces and childcare facilities, placing capacity limitations on stores, bars and other public venues and providing for safer workplaces.
“Our goal is to maintain policies that have made a drastic difference in the fight against COVID-19,” Gordon said. “Cases are rising, and the science is clear. Masks reduce the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing reduces the spread of COVID-19. Public action is critical to saving Michiganders’ lives.”
Today’s order comes under a legal authority enacted by the Michigan Legislature after the Spanish Flu of 1918 specifically to deal with epidemics. That statute was not at issue in the Supreme Court’s ruling last week.
The order completes the major elements of the department’s efforts to align orders under its own authority with actions taken by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that were successful in combatting the spread of COVID-19. Compared to Monday’s order, new provisions today provide for capacity limits in businesses, masks in childcare centers, added protections for workers, and requirements for contact tracing.
Under the new MDHHS order:
Due to the effectiveness of the policies initiated by Governor Whitmer, and to minimize confusion following the Michigan Supreme Court’s ruling, MDHHS has maintained policy under executive orders as much as possible in its new order.
To aid in contact tracing, many businesses continue to be required to maintain accurate records of the names, contact information, date and time of entry of all visitors. These facilities, which include sports and entertainment facilities and places of public amusement, theaters and cinemas, concert halls, sporting venues, stadiums, amusement parks, arcades, bingo halls, bowling centers, skating rinks, and trampoline parks, must deny entry to any visitor who does not provide their name and phone number.
Under MCL 333.2253, if the MDHHS director determines that control of an epidemic is necessary to protect the public health, the director by emergency order may prohibit the gathering of people for any purpose and may establish procedures to be followed during the epidemic to insure continuation of essential public health services and enforcement of health laws.
Pursuant to MCL 333.2235(1), local health departments are authorized to carry out and enforce the terms of this order. Law enforcement officers may also enforce the order, and are specifically authorized to investigate potential violations of this order. They may coordinate as necessary with the appropriate regulatory entity and enforce this order within their jurisdiction.
Violations of this order are a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than six months or a fine of not more than $200, or both. Violations of this order are also punishable by a civil fine of up to $1,000.
This order is effective immediately and remains in effect through Friday, Oct. 30. The October 5, 2020 order entitled Gathering Prohibition and Mask Order is rescinded. Individuals with suggestions and concerns are invited to submit comments via email to COVID19@michigan.gov.
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