Michigan Issues Updated Guidance on Face Coverings and Gatherings

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On March 2, 2021, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued an order updating its previous stance on face coverings in most public settings, and on the number of individuals who can attend certain types of gatherings.

Notably, as with the previous order, the following general capacity limits do not apply to workplace gatherings, which are governed by Emergency Rules MIOSHA issued on October 14, 2020. Among the several MIOSHA rules requirements is that employers continue to conduct daily self-screening protocols for all employees or contractors entering the workplace, including, at a minimum, a questionnaire covering symptoms and suspected or confirmed exposure to people with possible COVID-19, together with, if possible, a temperature screening.

General Capacity Limits and Gatherings

Pursuant to the March 2 order, certain capacity limitations have been expanded, including:

  • Indoor gatherings at residential venues are limited to 15 persons from no more than 3 households;
  • Indoor gatherings at non-residential venues are limited to 25 persons;
  • Outdoor gatherings at residential venues are limited to 50 persons or fewer; and
  • Outdoor gatherings at non-residential venues are limited to 300 persons or fewer.

Restaurants

Michigan restaurants and bars will be allowed to fill up to 50% capacity, with a maximum of 100 people. Restaurants had previously been capped at 25% capacity. The indoor dining curfew has been pushed back from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. Certain requirements remain:

  • Patrons must remain masked at all times, except when eating or drinking in designated areas; and
  • Parties are still limited to six people per table, and all tables have to be at least six feet apart.

Retail, Libraries and Museums

Under the previous order, retail shops and businesses had been capped at 30% capacity. Now they will be able to operate at 50% capacity. The same rules are in effect for other services, such as libraries and museums.

Exercise Facilities

  • Gatherings must not exceed 30% of the total occupancy limits established by the state fire marshal or a local fire marshal;
  • There must be at least six feet of distance between each occupied workout station, and physical layout of the space must be established such that exercisers can move between stations while maintaining six feet of distance from others at all times; and
  • Gatherings for group fitness activities or classes are permitted, provided all persons maintain at least six feet of distance from others at all times and wear a face mask at all times.

Gatherings at non-tribal casinos may not exceed 30% of total occupancy limits established by the state fire marshal or a local fire marshal.

The order is in effect through April 19, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. The order continues to allow local health departments to enforce its terms. Violations are punishable by a civil fine of up to $1,000 for each violation or day a violation continues.

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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