Michigan Extends Lockdown but Permits Group Fitness Activities and Non-Contact Sports

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On November 15, 2020, Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued an emergency epidemic order limiting gatherings and imposing restrictions, which included closing entertainment venues, recreational facilities, indoor dining at food service establishments, and in-person instruction at schools, colleges and universities.  MDHHS extended the restrictions on December 7, 2020 and again on December 18, 2020, although it relaxed some constraints. Most recently, on January 13, 2021, the MDHHS relaxed some of its constraints even further.

Most notably, the relaxed restrictions include permitting the following:

  • Gatherings for group fitness activities or classes, as long individuals wear a facemask at all times and remain at least six feet apart.
  • Gatherings for non-contact sports, as long as they do not exceed 25% of total occupancy limits and participants remain six feet apart from each other at all times.  

Facemask requirements, general gathering restrictions, food/entertainment and specified business gathering restrictions, and contact tracing remain unchanged from the original November 15, 2020 epidemic order.

This Order takes effect on January 16, 2021 and continues through January 31, 2021. Upon effect, this Order rescinds the December 18, 2020 order. A violation of the order is punishable by monetary civil penalties under MCL 333.2262(a) and civil fines up to $1,000 for each violation or day that the violation continues.

As Michigan continues to see a plateau or decrease in COVID-19 cases, we anticipate the MDHHS will continue to relax restrictions in future orders, including opening dine-in eating at restaurants in February 2021 as Governor Whitmer suggested in her press conference on January 13, 2021. 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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