Michigan Issues Three Executive Orders Relaxing Gathering Restrictions, Re-opening Cinemas, and Requiring Facemasks for Kindergarteners



On September 25, 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Orders (EO) 2020-183, 2020-184, and 2020-185 related to the pandemic. The first EO eases some business restrictions, the second imposes contact tracing requirements for certain facilities, and the third requires face coverings for students.

Executive Order 2020-183

EO 2020-183 amends Michigan’s Safe Start order and relaxes some of Michigan’s previous social distancing requirements. For one, the 10-person limit for non-residential indoor gatherings is now 20 people per 1,000 square feet or 20% of the fixed seating capacity, with a maximum of 500 people in larger venues. In Regions 6 and 8,1 however, indoor gatherings may be up to 25 people per 1,000 square feet or 25% of fixed seating capacity. The 100-person maximum outdoor venue requirement was also relaxed to 1,000 people as long as fewer than 30 people are located per 1,000 square feet or 30% venue capacity.

Second, beginning on October 9, 2020, “indoor theaters, cinemas, performance venues, arcades, bingo halls, bowling centers, indoor climbing facilities, trampoline parks, and more” may now reopen statewide.

Executive Order 2020-184

EO 2020-184 amends Michigan’s worker safeguards previously outlined in Executive Order 2020-175. The majority of safeguards remain the same, with the most significant change being the requirement for sports and entertainment facilities (such as cinemas, concert halls, performance venues, etc.) to maintain accurate records for contact tracing and denying entry to those who refuse to provide, at a minimum, their name and phone number.

Executive Order 2020-185

EO 2020-185 now requires, rather than recommends, students in kindergarten and up wear face coverings in the classroom, in Regions 1-5 and 7.2 Schools must now also publish information related to COVID-19-positive cases as prescribed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Effective Dates and Penalties

EO 2020-183 takes effect at 12:01 am on October 9, 2020; EO 2020-184 takes effect immediately; and EO 2020-185 takes effect on October 5, 2020 at 12:01 am.

A willful violation EO 2020-183 or 2020-184 is a misdemeanor consistent with MCL 10.33 and MCL 30.405(3).



1 Region 6 and 7 include the following counties: Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Crawford, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Presque Isle, Emmet, Hillsdale, Lenawee, and Jackson.

2 Regions 1-5 and 7 include the following counties: Monroe, Washtenaw, Livingston, Genesee, Lapeer, Saint Clair, Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Mason, Lake, Osceola, Clare, Oceana, Newaygo, Mecosta, Isabella, Muskegon, Montcalm, Ottawa, Kent, Ionia, Allegan, Barry, Van Buren, Kalamazoo, Calhoun, Berrien, Cass, Saint Joseph, Branch, Oscoda, Alcona, Ogemaw, Iosco, Gladwin, Arenac, Midland, Bay, Saginaw, Tuscola, Sanilac, Huron, Gratiot, Clinton, Shiawassee, Eaton, Ingham, and Hillsdale, Lenawee, and Jackson.

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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