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Michigan MDHHS Director Issues Revised Gatherings and Face Mask Order

November 2, 2020

On Thursday, October 29, 2020, Robert Gordon, Director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, issued "Emergency Order Under MCL 333.2253 – Gatherings and Face Mask Order" ("Oct. 29 Order").  The Oct. 29 Order rescinded the Director’s previous Oct. 5 Gathering Prohibition and Face Covering Order ("Oct. 5 Order") which was scheduled to expire Oct. 30.  The Oct 29 Order will remain in effect until rescinded.

The Oct. 29 Order further defines requirements for face masks, reduces the maximum capacity limit for indoor non-residential venues without fixed seating to 50 persons, adds table seating limitations and distancing requirements for non-residential gatherings, expands mandatory contact tracing requirements, deletes certain workplace protections and posting requirements, and treats Region 6 the same as the rest of the Michigan (deleting Region 6 differences in the Oct. 5 Order).

Otherwise, the Oct. 29 Order retains the capacity and attendance limitations and face mask (covering) requirements, additional requirements applicable to food service establishments and organized sports, and contact tracing requirements of the Oct. 5 Order.

This alert summarizes important changes implemented by the Oct. 29 Order. Please see our alert discussing the Oct. 5 Order here and a full copy of the Oct. 29 Order here.


Oct 29 Order

Oct 5 Order

Further defines "face mask" and uses this new term in place of "face covering" throughout the order

A face mask must be "tightly woven cloth or other multi-layer absorbent material" and must "closely" cover the person’s mouth and nose

Face covering defined as "a covering" of at least the mouth and nose

Decreases the capacity limit for indoor non-residential venues without fixed seating from a maximum of 500 to 50 persons

Capacity limit for indoor non-residential venues with fixed seating remains at a maximum of 500 persons

Capacity limit for indoor non-residential venues of ≤50 with attendance limit of 20 persons per 1,000 feet in each occupied room (attendance limit unchanged except reduced from 25 to 20 persons for Region 6*)

Capacity limit for indoor non-residential venues with fixed seating remains at ≤500 with attendance limit of 20% of seating capacity (attendance limit unchanged except reduced from 25% to 20% for Region 6)

Capacity limit for indoor residential venues with or without fixed seating of ≤500 with attendance limits for venues without fixed seating of 20 persons per 1,000 feet in each occupied room except 25 persons in Region 6 and for venues with fixed seating of 20% of seating capacity except 25% of seating capacity for Region 6

Adds table seating and distancing limitations for all non-residential gatherings

Seating at tables is limited to six persons with six feet distance between tables

Not included

Expands mandatory contact tracing requirements to "dine-in" food service establishments** and if requested by MDHHS to other businesses and schools

Food service establishments must maintain records of dine-in customers including names, phone numbers and dates and times of entry

If requested, other businesses, schools and facilities must provide names and phone numbers of individuals with "possible COVID-19 exposure"

The Oct. 29 Order continues the contact tracing requirements of the Oct. 5 Order applicable to personal care services, recreational sports, exercise and entertainment facilities, and in-home service providers from the Oct. 5 Order

Deletes workplace protections from the Oct. 5 Order

It should be noted that detailed COVID-19 work place safety requirements applicable to employers subject to the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act, 174 PA 154, MCL 408.1001 to 408.1094, substantially exceeding those that were included in the Oct. 5 Order, were issued by the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity on October 14, 2020

The workplace protection provisions of the Oct. 5 Order included prohibiting gatherings of employees in the work place "if not strictly necessary," daily self-screening protocols and return to work conditions for employees subject to COVID-19 isolation or quarantine requirements

Deleted certain exceptions applicable to Region 6 (treating Region 6 the same of the rest of Michigan)

Deleted the Region 6 increased attendance limits for indoor non-residential venues; capacity limits for retail stores, libraries and museums;  and face covering exceptions applicable to schools

See above as to increased attendance limits that were applicable in Region 6

Region 6 was not subject to the 50% capacity limitations otherwise applicable to retail stores, libraries and museums

Face coverings in schools in Region 6 were strongly encouraged

* Region 6 consists of the following Michigan counties:  Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Crawford, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Presque Isle, and Emmet.

** Food service establishments (as defined in section 1107(t) of the Michigan Food Law) include "any fixed or mobile restaurant, coffee shop, cafeteria, tavern, bar, … theater, or similar place in which food or drink is prepared for direct consumption through service on premises or elsewhere, and any other eating or drinking establishment or operation where food is served or provided to the public."

If you have questions about the MDHHS Oct. 29 Order, please contact your Miller Canfield attorney or the authors of this alert.