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Oct 2020
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October 30, 2020

DHHS Extends its Epidemic Order

On October 29, 2020, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), extended and revised its epidemic order addressing COVID-19 concerns. The Gatherings and Face Mask Order (DHHS Order) largely tracks the DHHS’s previous order requiring the use of masks in indoor spaces (which include schools) and while playing organized sports, as well as prohibiting congregation at food service establishments. There are, however, a few significant changes.
 
Extended Indefinitely
 
The DHHS order, which was originally set to expire October 30, 2020, will continue to be in place until rescinded. With COVID-19 cases increasing throughout the state of Michigan, the DHHS Order could be in place for the distant future.
 
Traverse City Region

The Traverse City region was moved back to Phase 4 of the MI Safe Start system, joining the rest of the state. The DHHS Order thus treats all regions of the state the same.

Indoor Gatherings
 
The DHHS Order provides specific limitations for both indoor and outdoor gatherings. Indoor residential gatherings are now limited to 10 or fewer persons. The DHHS Order also reduces non-residential venue gatherings to 50 or fewer persons if there is no fixed seating and attendance is limited to 20 persons per 1,000 square feet in each occupied room or 500 or fewer persons with fixed seating, and attendance is limited to 20% of seating capacity of the venue.

These gathering limitations do not apply to incidental gatherings in a shared space, such as an airport, voting places, some law enforcement and medical trainings, organized sports gatherings, classrooms, child care and public transit. The DHHS Order does, however, include additional capacity limitations for gatherings at certain facilities, including retail stores, recreational sports and exercise facilities, clinic waiting rooms, outdoor and indoor pools and casinos.

Outdoor Gatherings
 
With respect to outdoor gatherings, the DHHS Order limits attendance to 100 or fewer persons at a residence. For non-residential venues, outdoor gatherings are limited to:
 

  1. 1,000 or fewer persons gathered at a venue without fixed seating, and attendance is limited to 30 persons per 1,000 square feet, including within any distinct area within the event space; or 

  2. 1,000 or fewer persons gathered at a venue with fixed seating, and attendance is limited to 30% of seating capacity of the venue.

 
Food Service Establishments

The DHHS Order now also restricts indoor party sizes at the same table to six people. This restriction applies to bars, restaurants and social events outside private homes. In addition, the number of patrons cannot exceed 50% of normal seating capacity.
 
Warner continues to follow COVID-19 updates. For additional information or questions about the DHHS Order or any COVID-19-related issues, please contact a member of our COVID-19 service team: Michael Azzi, Amanda Fielder, Monique Field-Foster, Matthew Johnson or Ford Turrell.

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