EAST LANSING, Mich. – A new emergency order is slightly easing restrictions on outdoor gathering sizes in East Lansing near Michigan State University (MSU) starting Friday as the state begins to relax some coronavirus restrictions.
Ingham County Health Officer Linda S. Vail on Thursday issued an emergency order that limits outdoor gatherings to no more than 15 people in parts of East Lansing, including the downtown area, effective Friday, March 5.
The order, in effect indefinitely, affects the area inside of the northern edge of the MSU campus to Burcham Drive, between Harrison Road on the west side and Hagadorn Road on the east side. Officials say properties adjacent to those streets are also restricted under the order. Officials say this specific area is being restricted due to the “frequency of noise ordinance violations historically occurring in the area due to large house parties,” a press release reads.
The latest emergency order is replacing an order issued in October of last year that limited outdoor gathering sizes in the area to 10 people.
“COVID-19 cases are decreasing, but we are still seeing higher numbers in certain areas of East Lansing. With sports and Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations on the horizon, it is critical to keep social gatherings small,” Vail said. “We are making excellent progress in fighting COVID-19 but do not want to take steps backward.”
According to the Ingham County Health Department, people between the ages of 20-29 years old account for 30 percent of all COVID-19 cases in Ingham County since the pandemic struck one year ago. Officials say the region being restricted under the latest order has had the highest concentration of new COVID cases over the last month.
“For the time being, we must remain vigilant when it comes to COVID-19 safety measures,” said East Lansing Mayor Aaron Stephens. “This order is an important tool in continuing to limit social gathering sizes in an area of our community where we have historically seen large parties, and it’s especially important to have these limits in place with the weather warming up and events like Saint Patrick’s Day just around the corner.”
Under a statewide emergency order, outdoor gatherings are limited to no more than 50 people across Michigan -- however, local health departments have the authority to adopt different rules and restrictions for their jurisdictions through emergency health orders. Indoor gathering sizes in Michigan are currently limited to up to 15 people from no more than three households.
Michigan officials announced updated coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday, March 2, which affects businesses like restaurants, bars, gyms and more, in addition to gathering size limits.