YPSILANTI, Mich. – Washtenaw County Health Department issued a public health emergency order to limit the size of social gatherings or events Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.
County officials are not allowing more than 25 people to gather at outdoor events. The local order enhances existing state orders and further restricts social gathering in areas at increased risk for COVID-19 outbreaks as the student population returns to local universities.
The order takes effect 5 p.m. Thursday and will remain in effect until amended or rescinded.
“Social gatherings without preventative measures can quickly lead to increased local cases of COVID,” said Jimena Loveluck, MSW, health officer for Washtenaw County. “Additional restrictions on the size of outdoor gatherings as well as a strong recommendation to keep records of attendees will help prevent the spread of illness and allow us to respond quickly if cases are identified.”
The local order reduces the size of allowable outdoor social gatherings from 100 down to 25. Indoor gatherings remain limited to 10 or fewer people not of the same household, as per Michigan Executive Order 2020-160.
At any gathering or event, inside or out, individuals not living in the same household should keep at least 6 feet of distance from one another.
Face coverings continue to be required in indoor settings and any crowded outdoor settings under Executive Order 2020-153. Both the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University are requiring face coverings at all times on their campuses.
“I support the Washtenaw County Health Officer’s social gathering limitation 100% and thank her for her leadership,” Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor said. “Permanent residents, students, and everyone in between needs to know that they are the key to slowing the spread of COVID-19. If we all follow public health guidance and wear masks inside and outside, maintain distance, and practice good hand hygiene, we can keep ourselves, first responders, and our neighbors as safe as possible. It’s up to each of us to do our part.”
“Times are not normal, and we must continue to operate as safely as possible,” said Ypsilanti Mayor Lois Allen-Richardson. “That means interacting differently and with more precautions in place throughout our community and our campuses.”
Schools, childcare organizations, community centers, places of religious worship and/or functions and demonstrations are exempt but must continue to comply with EO 2020-160 as well as the mask provisions in EO 2020-153. Similarly, the local order is not intended to apply to incidental gatherings of in outdoor spaces, such as a bus station, restaurant, public pool, workplace, farmers market, or park.Outdoor weddings and funerals/memorial services scheduled prior to this order being issued are also exempt.