Kalamazoo health officer backs governor’s COVID orders

After the state Supreme Court struck down the governor's emergency powers, Jim Rutherford said those rules are still in effect in Kalamzoo County.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-19 orders are still the law, but that’s in question going forward. That includes rules to curb the spread of the virus in workplaces, limits on public gatherings, and the controversial mask mandate.

On Friday, the state’s Supreme Court ruled that the governor’s emergency powers, which give her the ability to issue executive orders, were unconstitutional. That leaves the state in limbo as the governor and courts figure out whether and when the rules will expire.

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In the meantime, Kalamazoo County’s Health Officer Jim Rutherford issued a statement Monday stating that the governor’s orders are still in effect.

“I cannot stress enough to Kalamazoo County that all current COVID-19 executive orders remain in effect,” read the statement. “Protecting public health is our top priority. Our best defense against further spread of COVID-19 in our community is the strict adherence to public health guidance.”

Though the governor may not have the ability to issue executive orders, Rutherford said he and other public health officials do have that power under the state’s public health code.

Rutherford said he is prepared to issue emergency orders if the situation calls for it.

You can read the full news release here.

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