Wayne County will continue following mask, social distancing guidance from state

Michigan Supreme Court ruling denies governor coronavirus emergency powers

Warren Evans

WAYNE COUNTY, Mich. – On Monday, Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans said a new emergency order issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services requiring facial masks to be worn in public places and limits to social and group gatherings reestablishes the key public health measures issued by Governor Gretchen Whitmer that have slowed the spread of COVID-19 and allowed for greater economic enterprise in recent months.

“The orders and directives issued today make it clear how we can continue to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in a way that is consistent with Michigan law while meeting the safety needs of its residents,” Evans said.

“We know social distancing and properly wearing a face mask are among the most effective ways to control the spread of COVID-19. The new orders will continue these life-saving public health measures. Our goal has been and continues to be providing the safest possible environment in which to live, learn, and work for our residents and visitors.”

The Michigan Supreme Court, in a 4-3 split decision Friday, ruled that Governor Gretchen Whitmer did not possess the authority to exercise emergency powers under the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945.

Additionally, the court unanimously found the governor did not have the authority to issue or renew any executive orders related to COVID-19 after April 30 under the Emergency Management Act of 1976 without legislative approval.

On Monday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued new emergency orders under the state’s Public Health Act limiting gatherings and requiring face masks to be worn in public.

The order, made under the authority of state laws not affected by the Court’s ruling, requires:

 Face coverings for all people aged 5 years and older in all indoor public places of business and schools;

 Indoor gatherings be limited to 10 people with face coverings; face coverings are recommended for family gatherings of 10 people;

 Indoor events with fixed seating to limit attendance to 20 percent of capacity and face coverings must be worn;

 Indoor events without fixed seating to limit attendance to no more than 20 people per 1,000 square feet in each occupied room and face coverings to be worn;

 Athletic competitors to wear a face covering, except for swimming, and maintain social distance; and,

 Bars and other alcohol-only establishments to remain closed to the public. Evans added Wayne County will continue with informational enforcement of the orders as it has done since the pandemic began. Under informational enforcement, public health officials will monitor compliance, working to help businesses and individuals understand and adhere to the public health orders.

For more information on facial mask and social distancing guidelines, click here.

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