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Publications | March 2, 2021
4 minute read

New Gathering Orders Expand Indoor Capacity and Allow for Nursing Home Visitations

On Tuesday, March 2, 2021, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued two new orders effective Friday, March 5, 2021, through April 19, 2021. The first order is a revised version of the previous Gatherings and Face Mask Order expanding capacity limitations for various venues and residential gatherings. The second order allows for visitation at long-term care facilities under certain restrictions and requirements.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer also announced the formation of a new work group under the Michigan Department of Labor that will assess plans for return to work, including phased return to office spaces. For now, those who must work from their place of employment can do so, and those who can work remotely must also continue to do so. 
The orders increase capacity limitations and allow for visitations as follows.
Increased Capacities at Venues and Residential/Non-Residential Gatherings:

  • Indoor gatherings at residential venues will increase from two households to three households, with persons increasing from 10 to 15.
  • Indoor gatherings at non-residential venues will increase from 10 to 25 persons, without a limitation on number of households included.
  • Outdoor gatherings at residential venues will increase from 25 to 50 persons, without a limitation on number of households included. 
  • Outdoor gatherings at non-residential venues will increase from 25 to 300 persons, or 1,000 persons if the non-residential venue is an outdoor entertainment and recreation facility. 

Exceptions to these capacity limitations in new order:

  • Previously, gatherings between an employee and a customer for purpose of receiving services were excluded from the above limitations, but this exception has been taken out of the new order.
  • Persons gathering for a funeral has been deleted, meaning the above limitations would apply to funerals.  

Increased Capacities at Entertainment, Recreational and Food Service Facilities:

  • Groups participating together in activities has increased from 10 to 25 persons indoors and 300 persons outdoors without a limitation on number of households.
  • Occupancy limits will be increased from 20% to 50% of the limits established by the fire marshal, and groups must remain six-feet apart at all times.
  • For indoor stadiums and arenas, no more than 375 patrons for venues with capacity under 10,000, and no more than 750 patrons for venues over 10,000 total capacity.
  • All other indoor entertainment and recreation facilities are limited to no more than 300 patrons within any distinct space within the venue.
  • For outdoor entertainment and recreation facilities, no more than 1,000 patrons may gather.
  • Food service facility capacity increases from 25% to 50% of normal seating capacity, or 100 persons, whichever is less.
  • Closure time for such facilities has changed from 10PM to 11PM. 

Capacity Increases for Other Facilities:

  • Non-tribal casinos may not exceed 30% of occupancy limits established by the fire marshal.
  • Retail, library, and museums will be increased from 30% to 50% of total occupancy limits. 
  • Exercise facilities/gyms increase from 25% to 30% of total occupancy limits. 
  • Indoor pools are allowed 30% of bather capacity, and outdoor pools will increase from 25% to 50%.
  • Ice and roller rink capacities will increase from four per 1,000 sq. ft. to 10 per 1,000 sq. ft. 

Long-Term Care Facilities

Visitation will be allowed if the facility meets the following criteria:

  • No facility-onset cases within the prior 14-days, and facility is not currently conducting outbreak testing.
  • Local health officials have not prohibited visitation at the facility.
  • Facilities caring for more than 13 individuals must ensure that visitors over age of 13 meet testing requirements.  

Visitation is allowed under the following circumstances:

  • All visitation must be by appointment.
  • No more than two people per visit.
  • Visitors must be tested. 

The order regarding visitation also imposes several other requirements in order for facilities to allow visitations, including excluding visitors who are unwilling or unable to wear a facemask, limiting entry to designated entrances to allow for proper screening, displaying appropriate signage, requiring social distancing during visits and prohibiting physical contact between visitors and residents/employees, as well as several other specific requirements.  

The orders can be found here:

Fact sheets regarding the new orders can be found here:

If you have any questions concerning any of these new orders, please contact a member of our COVID-19 service team: Michael Azzi, Amanda Fielder, Monique Field-Foster, Homayune Ghaussi, Matthew Johnson or Ford Turrell.