Sheriff: Violators of ban on gatherings of 250 people or more could face fines, jail time

Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton. (Credit: Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office)
Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton. (Credit: Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office)

ANN ARBOR – The Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office and local police have pledged support for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s recent executive order prohibiting gatherings of 250 people or more to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Additionally, the order advises events that would see 100 or more people gather in a shared space be canceled, as well as gatherings of more than 10 people that involve higher risk individuals.

“We are not looking for social isolation, but we are asking for social distancing,” read the release.

Those who ignore the executive order could face a fine of up to $200 or a misdemeanor that includes up to 90 days in jail.

“For some, the threat of the virus may seem insignificant,” Sheriff Jerry Clayton said in a statement. “However, we’re asking for your help in slowing the spread. The sooner the virus is subdued, the sooner we can get back to our normal way of life. One way to do so is to keep your distance and follow the direction of our health experts.”

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According to the release, a shared space includes, but is not limited to a:

  • Room
  • Hall
  • Cafeteria
  • Auditorium
  • Theater
  • Gallery

People who gather for the purposes of mass transit, manufacturing of industrial work or the purchase or consumer goods are groceries are presently exempt from the state ban.

“Now is the time for us to cooperate fully to protect everyone’s health,” Jimena Loveluck, MSW, health officer with Washtenaw County Health Department, said in a statement. “Our individual and collective actions are incredibly important for slowing the potential spread of illness in our community. Keep washing, covering, and distancing. Together, we will get through this.”

The large gatherings ban went into effect on Friday at 5 p.m. and will remain in effect until April 5 at 5 p.m.

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