Michigan’s ‘3-week pause’ COVID restrictions in effect: What to know
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High schools, college classes closed to in-person learning, dine-in barred at restaurants, more
Michigan has entered a three-week “pause” to several activities in an effort to help stop a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
UPDATE Dec. 7, 2020: These restrictions have been extended 12 more days -- 12 days beyond the expiration date of Dec. 8. This will keep existing measures in place through Dec. 20.
Under new restrictions issued Sunday evening by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), here’s what is closed starting Wednesday, Nov. 18 until Dec. 8 in Michigan.
Note: The map above shows the entire state of Michigan under what MDHHS calls risk “Level E” -- read that here.
What’s closed starting Wednesday, Nov. 18:
High schools (in-person learning)
Theaters, movie theaters, stadiums, arenas
Colleges and universities (in-person learning)
Bowling centers, ice skating rinks, indoor water parks
Work, when it can be done from home
Bingo halls, casinos, arcades
Dine-in restaurants and bars (indoor dining)
Group fitness classes
Personal services (salon, spa) that involve mask removal*
Organized sports, except professional sports and certain NCAA sports (Big Ten football, for example)
*For more information, view the MDHHS’ official Gatherings and Face Mask emergency order, which goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Nov. 18, right here.
What remains open during this three-week period:
Indoor gatherings are still allowed but only between two households and with no more than 10 people.
Small outdoor gatherings (25 people)
Preschool through 8th grade (local district choice)
Manufacturing, construction, other that is impossible to do remotely
Hair salons, barber shops, other personal services (Per the MDHHS order -- Section 4.e.: In facilities offering non-essential personal care services, including hair, nail, tanning, massage, traditional spa, tattoo, body art, and piercing services, and similar personal care services, gatherings are only permitted to the extent that services do not involve the removal of face masks. All services must be provided by appointment, and gatherings in waiting areas are prohibited.)
Gyms and pools (for individual exercise only)
Restaurants and bars (for outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery only)
Professional sports (without spectators)
Parks and outdoor recreation
Funerals (25 people)
Face mask requirement
Under this MDHHS epidemic order, all persons participating in gatherings are required to wear a face mask. Here’s what the order says about face mask exceptions:
Although a face mask is strongly encouraged even for individuals not required to wear one (except for children under the age of 2), the requirement to wear a face mask in gatherings as required by this order does not apply to individuals who:
Are younger than 5 years old, outside of child-care organization setting (which are subject to requirements set out in section 7(e);
Cannot medically tolerate a face mask;
Are eating or drinking while seated at a food service establishment or at a private residence;
Are exercising outdoors and able to consistently maintain 6 feet of distance from others;
Are receiving a medical service for which removal of the face mask is necessary;
Are asked to temporarily remove a face mask for identification purposes;
Are communicating with someone who is deaf, deafblind, or hard of hearing and whose ability to see the mouth is essential to communication;
Are actively engaged in a public safety role, including but not limited to law enforcement, firefighters, or emergency medical personnel, and where wearing a face mask would seriously interfere in the performance of their public safety responsibilities;
Are at a polling place for purposes of voting in an election;
Are engaging in a religious service; or
Are giving a speech for broadcast or to an audience, provided that the audience is at least 6 feet away from the speaker.
Again, this order takes effect on November 18, 2020 at 12:01 AM, at which time the October 29, 2020, order entitled Gatherings and Face Mask Order is rescinded, the state says.
Emergency phone alert
The state of Michigan ended up sending an emergency alert to cellphones on Wednesday morning with the following message:
“MDHHS COVID-19 updated order requiring face masks and limiting gathering to save lives starts today. New limits on indoor residential gatherings; bars and restaurants open for outdoor dining and carry-out only; colleges and high schools must end in-person classes.”
Health officials want COVID tests positivity rate to fall below 3%
Michigan health officials have repeatedly said the positivity rate of COVID-19 tests in the state needs to remain below 3% to show that the spread of the virus is under control.
As of this weekend, the state’s 7-day moving average for COVID tests positivity rate was 13.21%, far higher than where state health officials want it to be. Michigan’s COVID tests positivity rate has not been below 3% since early October.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer noted in an interview with Local 4 that the 3% benchmark will be important in deciding when to lift new COVID restrictions that go into effect this week. Whitmer said the positivity rate will have to fall below 3% during the three-week period of stricter measures to stop the spread before restrictions could be lifted.
Michigan coronavirus headlines:
7,458 new COVID cases reported Tuesday
The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 272,034 as of Tuesday, including 8,128 deaths, state officials report.
Tuesday’s update represents 7,458 new cases and 79 additional deaths, 24 from vital records. On Monday, the state reported 264,576 total cases and 8,049 deaths.
New COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to rise in Michigan. Testing has increased in recent weeks, with more than 45,000 diagnostic tests reported per day, but the positive rate has increased to above 13% over the last week. Hospitalizations (view data below) have increased steadily for the last five weeks, including upticks in critical care and ventilator use.
Michigan’s 7-day moving average for daily cases was 6,825 on Monday, the highest it has ever been. The 7-day death average was 55, the highest since May. The state’s fatality rate is 3.0%. The state also reports “active cases,” which were listed at 117,700 on Monday, near its highest mark on record. More than 138,800 have recovered in Michigan.
Copyright 2020 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit - All rights reserved.
On December 18, 2020, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued an emergency epidemic order rolling back some of the restrictions previously in place for Michigan businesses. The most significant changes include the reopening of “Lower Risk Recreational Facilities” like bowling alleys and casinos, and the resumption of in-person high school classes.
The following are critical takeaways for employers regarding the order:
Face Mask Requirements Remain the Same
- Face masks continue to be required for gatherings of any kind. This includes requiring businesses, organizations, offices, and transportation providers to deny entry or service to those who refuse to wear a face mask. Those responsible for ensuring face masks are worn at entry should not assume those who are not wearing a face mask cannot medically tolerate it and seek, at a minimum, verbal confirmation.
- Children in child care organizations or camps must wear a face mask if they are: two years of age or older on provided transportation; four years or older in indoor hallways and common areas; and five years and older in classrooms or other indoor settings.
- Exceptions to the face mask requirement include those who: cannot medically tolerate one; are younger than age five outside of a childcare organization; are eating or drinking while seated at a food service establishment or at a private residence; are exercising outdoors and able to consistently maintain six feet of distance; are receiving a medical service for which removal is necessary; are asked to temporarily remove a face mask for identification purposes; are communicating with someone who is deaf, deafblind, or hard of hearing and whose ability to see the mouth is essential to communication; are at a polling place for purposes of voting in an election; are engaged in religious services; or are giving a speech for broadcast or to an audience.
General Gathering Requirements Remain the Same
- Indoor gatherings are prohibited at non-residential venues.
- For outdoor gatherings, no more than 25 people from no more than three households may gather.
- The limitations do not apply to: certain temporary gatherings in a shared space such as at airports, food establishments, malls, or on public transportation; workplace gatherings consistent with the MIOSHA Emergency Rules; voting activities; education and child care facilities; obtaining medical treatment; funerals (but no more than 25 people), and residential care facilities.
Gatherings at “Lower Risk Recreational Facilities” are Permitted
- Such facilities include recreational facilities where there is not physical contact among participants, there is minimal interaction between households participating in activities, masks can be worn, and, if indoors, activities involve a low degree of exhalation or physical exertion. Examples include archery ranges, amusement parks, arcades, bingo halls, bowling centers, casinos, theatres, and gun ranges.
- Organizers cannot permit persons to mingle with others from outside their household.
- Household groups are limited to six people and must remain six feet apart.
- No food or beverages can be sold or consumed on the premises.
- Other than stadiums and arenas hosting sporting events, recreational venues are limited to 100 people. Venues with fixed seating must not exceed 20% capacity. Venues without fixed seating are limited to 20 people per 1,000 square feet.
Gatherings at Other Facilities Remain the Same
- Food establishments are restricted to outdoor dining with no more than six to a table spaced six feet apart and to custodial settings, medical facilities, school and university cafeterias, shelters, and soup kitchens with attendees seated six feet apart unless members of the same household.
- Retail stores, libraries, or museums may not exceed 30% occupancy or one customer at a time, including regulating entry and checkout with markers for patrons to stand six feet apart.
- Exercise facilities must not exceed 25% occupancy, with 12 feet of distance between workout stations. Gatherings at indoor or outdoor pools must not exceed 25% of bather capacity limits. Gatherings at indoor ice and roller rinks are only permitted for one-on-one instruction or when capacity is limited to two people per 1,000 square feet. Gatherings at outdoor ice and roller rinks are permitted for non-contact sports, provided that capacity is limited to two people per 1,000 square feet. Open skating is permitted only at outdoor rinks.
- Businesses should require patients to wait in their cars for their appointments, unless the facility can ensure six feet of distance in the waiting room.
- Non-essential personal care services (hair, nail, massage, etc.) may remain open and must limit services to those who do not require face mask removal. Services must be by appointment only and gatherings in waiting areas are prohibited.
High Schools Can Resume In-Person Instruction
- In-person instruction for prekindergarten through grade 12 is permitted subject to local health department and school district decisions on remote learning. Extracurricular activities are permitted as long they do not involve contact or a high degree of exhalation or physical exertion indoors where masks cannot be worn.
- Gathering restrictions do not restrict schools from providing services to students in need, such as food distribution, access to internet, physical and mental health care services, and childcare.
Restrictions Regarding Organized Sports Remain the Same
Contact Tracing Requirements Remain the Same
- Contact tracing is required for all exercise facilities, in-home services, and businesses providing barbering, cosmetology services, body art services, tanning services, massage services, or similar personal care services.
- Information gathered must include, at a minimum, the patron’s name and phone number. In-home facilities must maintain business records that include date and time of service, name of client, and contact information.
- Upon request, such data must be provided to MDHHS and local health departments to aid with contact tracing and investigation efforts.
- The data must be retained for 28 days and destroyed thereafter. The data cannot be sold or used for sales or marketing purposes without patron consent and is protected as confidential to the fullest extent of the law.
This order took effect on December 18, 2020, and continues through January 15, 2021. Upon effect, this order rescinds the December 7, 2020 order. A violation of the order is punishable by monetary civil penalties under MCL 333.2262(1) and civil fines up to $1,000 for each violation or day that the violation continues.
Executive Order 2020-110 FAQs (No longer effective)
The most up-to-date guidance on these and other mitigation strategies is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus.
This matter is rapidly evolving and MDHHS may provide updated guidance.
Executive Order, 2020-110
Temporary restrictions on certain events, gatherings, and businesses - Rescission of Executive Orders 2020-69 and 2020-96
Q: Do the limitations on the number of people at indoor gatherings or events apply to voting activities (e.g., at school cafeterias that are used as polling places or to count ballots)?
A. No. The gathering and event limitations in Executive Order 2020-110 and Executive Order 2020-115 do not apply to voters coming together to cast their individual vote or to poll workers coming together, as necessary, to count votes. Polling places should take steps, however, to enable voters and poll workers to remain six feet from one another at all times.
Q: What are the guest limits for weddings, receptions, or other social events held at a restaurant/banquet hall?
A: These events are subject to the limitations in sections 5 and 6 of Executive Order 2020-110, if the event takes place in Region 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 7. Accordingly, if the event is outdoors and among people not part of the same household, it may not exceed 100 people; if the event is indoors and among people not part of the same household, it may not exceed 10 people. In all cases, people not part of the same household must maintain six feet of distance from one another during the event.
If the event takes place in Region 6 or 8, the event is subject to the limitations of section 7(a) of Executive Order 2020-115. Accordingly, if the event is outdoors and among people not part of the same household, it may not exceed 250 people; if the event is indoors and among people not part of the same household, it may not exceed 50 people. In all cases, people not part of the same household must maintain six feet of distance from one another during the event.
The separate capacity limits applicable to restaurants, food courts, cafes, coffeehouses, bars, taverns, brew pubs, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, tasting rooms, special licensees, clubs, and like places do not allow for larger social gatherings or events to take place by reason of the fact that they are held at such venues. A central risk of a large social gathering or event is that the people who have congregated for that gathering or event will interact with one another over a long period of time. That same level of risk is not present among people who happen to be in the same establishment and are seated at different tables.
Q: Are funerals allowed under Executive Order 2020-110?
A: Yes. Under the order people may leave their home to attend a funeral, provided that no more than 10 people are in attendance, this applies to all indoor funeral-related activities. Any outdoor funeral-related activities are permitted so long as people maintain six feet of distance from one another and the assemblage consists of no more than 100 people.
Q: Can law firms, attorney offices and legal aid clinics continue in-person activities or remote activities on legal matters within a law office?
A: Yes. However, consistent with section 2 of the order, any work that is capable of being performed remotely (i.e., without the worker leaving his or her home or place of residence) must be performed remotely. To the extent any business or operation requires its employees to leave their home or place of residence for work is subject to the rules on workplace safeguards in Executive Order 2020-97 or any order that may follow from it.
Q: Are pet-groomers permitted to resume operations?
A: Yes. Pet-groomers will be allowed to resume operations on June 4, subject to workplace standards described in Executive Order 2020-97 or any order that may follow from it.
Q: Does Executive Order 2020-110 prohibit persons from engaging in outdoor activities that are protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution?
A: No. Persons may engage in expressive activities protected by the First Amendment within the State of Michigan, but must adhere to social distancing measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including remaining at least six feet from people from outside the person’s household.
Q: Does traveling to and attending a religious service in a parking lot of a place of religious worship with congregants remaining in their own vehicles constitute an activity subject to penalty under section 20 of the order?
Q: How does this order impact custody agreements / how does this order impact parents’ visits with their children placed in foster care?
A: Executive Order 2020-110 has no impact on custody agreements nor does it impact visitation rights of children placed in foster care.
Q: Does Executive Order 2020-110 restrict the exercise of tribal treaty rights?
A: No. Executive Order 2020-96 does not restrict activities by tribal members to exercise their federal treaty rights within the boundaries of their treaty territory (also known as “ceded territory”). These activities may be subject to restrictions imposed by tribal authorities.
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