Michigan health department issues slate of COVID orders

New rules on bars, public gatherings, and masks are meant to cover emergency orders tossed into question by the supreme court.

Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) on Friday issued emergency orders meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus. They cover everything from mask requirements to limitations on public gatherings.

They largely mirror orders already issued by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Those orders were thrown into uncertainty when the state’s Supreme Court ruled the basis of those orders unconstitutional.

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“I thought it was terrible,” said Robert Gordon, the head of the MDHHS, in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling. “It eliminates rules that have saved thousands of lives.”

The MDHHS is explicitly authorized to issue emergency orders by the state’s public health code. The new rules are similar to the old ones.

  • People must wear face coverings in public, including at grocery stores, schools, and sporting events. Face coverings are required indoors when there are more than ten people, and outdoors when there are more than 100.
  • Indoor gatherings are restricted to half capacity in most cases. That includes restaurants, stores, and libraries and museums. Sports and exercise facilities are limited to 25% capacity.
  • Athletes must wear masks even while playing (except for swimmers). There are also limits on the number of people who can attend sporting events.
  • People who are in isolation because of exposure to COVID-19, symptoms of COVID-19, or a positive COVID-19 test must stay home from work.

There is one rule that deviates from the governor’s orders: Bars are allowed to reopen. Whitmer ordered bars closed in July after outbreaks were tracked to some bars.

You can read the full orders here.

You can read more on MLive.

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