Michigan extends COVID rules for gatherings, masks, restaurants, entertainment venues

Order extended through May 24

A sign requiring masks. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
A sign requiring masks. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan has extended the COVID-19 order that implemented restrictions on gatherings, restaurants, entertainment venues and more.

Busy week of COVID news in Michigan: Everything you need to know

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services extended the epidemic order through May 24. It also expanded mask requirements to include children ages 2-4 years old.

“Michigan continues to implement smart health policies and mitigation measures to fight the spread of COVID-19,” MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel said. “This includes the requirement to wear a mask while in public and at gatherings, limits on indoor residential social gatherings larger than 15 people with no more than three households, and expanded testing requirements for youth sports.”

Restaurants

Indoor dining at restaurants and bars is limited to 50% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.

Indoor and outdoor dining has a curfew of 11 p.m.

Groups cannot exceed six people at a table, and groups must be at least six feet apart.

Outdoor dining is allowed at 100% capacity.

Takeout and delivery services are allowed. Igloos, huts and small tents can be used as long as only one group is inside.

Gatherings

Up to 15 people from a total of three households can gather indoors. Up to 50 people can gather outside.

Face masks are required at all times during residential gatherings, except while eating or drinking. People who are fully vaccinated -- meaning at least two weeks have passed since receiving the final dose -- can remove masks as long as they don’t have symptoms, officials said.

Residents are encouraged to only socialize with a “pod” of people from other households.

At non-residential gatherings, everyone has to wear a mask at all times, unless eating or drinking while in a designated area.

Food and drinks at non-residential gatherings are only allowed while people are sitting in a designated area with no more than six people per group, officials said. Groups must stay at least six feet apart from each other and can’t intermingle.

Mask mandate

Businesses, government offices, schools, child care organizations, public transit drivers and all other gathering organizers can’t allow indoor or outdoor gatherings of any kind unless they require masks.

They cannot assume someone without a face mask falls into one of the exceptions categories, but they can accept someone’s word that they aren’t wearing a mask because they fall within a specified exception.

Starting April 26, the face mask requirement includes children ages 2-4, and a good faith effort must be made to make sure they wear masks while in gatherings at childcare facilities or camps, according to the state.

“This addresses the increase in cases among younger Michiganders and follows recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance,” a state release says.

Businesses

Gatherings at a retail stores, libraries and museums cannot not exceed 50% of total capacity. Spaces for indoor dining, including food courts, must comply with the requirements for food service establishments, state officials said.

Personal care services, including hair, nail, tanning, massage, spa, tattoo, body art and piercing services, are allowed with appointments. Masks must be worn at all times, unless a customer is receiving a medical or personal care service that requires removing masks.

Entertainment

Groups of up to 25 people can go to auditoriums, arenas, cinemas, concert halls, performance venues, sporting venues, stadiums, theaters, archery ranges, amusement parks, arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, gun ranges, laser tag and trampoline parks.

Indoor facilities can’t exceed 50% capacity or 300 people.

Outdoor facilities can’t exceed 50% capacity or 1,000 people.

Stadiums and areans

Everyone has to wear masks at all times, unless eating or drinking while seated in a designated area. Eating and drinking is only allowed in groups of six people or fewer, and groups have to stay six feet apart.

Large indoor stadiums and arenas with capacity of up to 10,000 can have up to 375 people. Venues with capacity larger than 10,000 seats can have up to 750 people.

Up to 20% capacity is allowed in an outdoor stadium or arena as long as there is fixed seating for at least 5,000 spectators, an infection control plan that complies with the protocols included in MDHHS’s Enhanced Outdoor Stadium and Arena Guidance is followed and a plan is posted publicly.

Infection control plans have to be available to local health departments and MDHHS at least seven days before events.

Outdoor stadiums and arenas that don’t establish and abide by an infection control plan can’t have more than 1,000 people.

Sports organizers at outdoor stadiums have to administer a testing program as specified in MDHHS’s Interim Guidance for Athletics to all players.

Sports

Gatherings are allowed indoors and outdoors for individual exercise, group classes and individual and group instruction. Gymnasiums, fitness centers, exercise studios, tracks, sports complexes, pools, yoga, dance, gymnastics, cycling studios, ice rinks, roller rinks and trampoline parks are included.

Attendance cannot exceed 30% of the total capacity limits. At least six feet of distance must be kept between workout stations.

Masks are required, except during swimming.

Ice and roller rinks cannot exceed 10 people per 1,000 square feet.

Athletes ages 13-19 years old are required to be tested in accordance with the testing protocol specified in MDHHS Interim Guidance for Athletics. Masks have to be worn unless an organizer has deemed a sport to be unsafe with a face covering.

COVID metrics

Michigan’s positivity rate has increased for eight weeks, but has seen a recent five-day decline to 17.1%. The metric remains up 390% from the mid-February low and is above the December peak of 14.4%, officials said.

The statewide case rate has increased over the past eight weeks to 613.9 cases per million. The rate is more than 475% higher than the low in mid-February, but remains below peak of 737.8 cases per million on Nov 14.

The percentage of inpatient beds dedicated to those with COVID-19 is now at 18.8%. This metric peaked at 19.6% on Tuesday, Dec. 4, and is up 373% from the February low.

“Nurses are exhausted,” said Jamie Brown, president of the Michigan Nurses Association. “Many hospitals are close to 100% capacity. RNs around the state are being put in the impossible situation of having to decide which patient to attend to. Nurses are working up to 18 hours at a time, often without breaks. We are begging for everyone in the community to do their part. Stay home. Wear a mask. Get a vaccine when you are able. We are barely able to keep our heads above water. We are in crisis. We need our communities’ help.”


About the Author:

Derick is a Senior Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.