ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The Washtenaw County Health Department (WCHD) has limited the size of outdoor gatherings in residential settings to 25 people for the cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.
The health department initially updated an existing public health emergency order on Oct. 2, but then later issued a new emergency order on Oct. 7 limiting gathering sizes to prevent the spread of COVID-19 specifically in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.
Officials say the limitations are meant to help control the spread of COVID-19 in areas that are at an increased risk for outbreaks due to large student populations and congregate housing on and near university campuses.
“We are currently seeing a sharp increase in cases among local, college-age individuals,” said Washtenaw County health officer Jimena Loveluck in a press release last week.
“We know social gatherings without precautions are a primary source of exposure. We can prevent additional spread by keeping all gatherings small, using face coverings and distance, and fully cooperating with case investigators and contact tracers," Loveluck added.
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The health department is updating their local orders because state restrictions have changed, officials say.
On Aug. 20, the health department limited social gatherings to 25 people but new updates distinguish between residential and non-residential venues.
Outdoor gatherings at private residences in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti are limited to 25 people. Gatherings at non-residential venues must comply with limitations as outlined in the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services' (MDHHS) emergency order.
For the rest of Washtenaw County, outdoor gatherings in residential areas are limited to 100 people, according to state limitations. Face coverings are encouraged to be worn.
Indoor social gatherings at private residences in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti are limited to 10 people or fewer who are not from the same household. Social gatherings at indoor non-residential venues are allowed up to 500 people but seating capacity and attendance must fit restrictions outlined in the MDHHS' emergency order. Face coverings are required.
The order issued on Oct. 7 does not apply to day care settings, social gatherings that take place in the county but outside the cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, social gatherings that take place in non-residential settings and social gatherings or events that take place in bars or restaurants. These gatherings and events are instead required to comply with restrictions as outlined in the MDHHS' emergency order.
Restaurants within the cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti may continue to operate at 50 percent of their normal capacity.
Individuals not in the same household should remain six feet apart at all gatherings.
Read the full public health emergency order here.
Visit the Washtenaw County Health Department’s COVID-19 dashboard to find resources on testing, symptoms and updates.
UPDATE as of 10/7 - Our local order on social gatherings has been updated. This updated order is to continue limiting the size of outdoor social gatherings in residential settings within the Cities of #AnnArbor & #Ypsilanti: https://t.co/WS2ZfAnpzi https://t.co/M86fC2RQk8— Washtenaw County Health Department (@wcpublichealth) October 7, 2020