March 19 MDHHS Order Increases Outdoor Stadium Capacity and Adds Youth Athlete Testing Requirements

By Rebekah Page-Gourley posted 25 days ago

  

On March 19, 2021, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued a new Gatherings and Face Mask Order, effective March 22 through April 19, 2021, replacing the previous order. Among other things, the new order increases outdoor stadium and arena capacity and requires COVID-19 testing for youth athletes ages 13–19. The MDHHS also issued the following supplemental materials: a capacity limits fact sheet, Enhanced Outdoor Stadium and Arena Guidance, Dining Guide, and FAQs.

March 19 MDHHS Gatherings and Face Mask Order Updates

Highlights of the March 19 order include the following (items in bold indicate provisions not in the previous order):

  • A number of terms are defined, including child-care organization, gathering, household, indoors, and symptoms of COVID-19. The list includes a definition for fully vaccinated persons:

    “Fully vaccinated persons” means persons for whom at least two weeks has passed after receiving the final dose of an FDA-approved or authorized COVID-19 vaccine.

    It also includes definitions for stadiums and arenas (which means “venues with fixed seating for at least 5,000 spectators”).
  • Indoor gatherings are permitted at residential venues only if no more than 15 people from no more than three households are gathered. Such gatherings should be held consistent with MDHHS’s Social Gathering Guidance, which includes limiting time indoors and wearing a mask when not eating or drinking. Indoor gatherings at nonresidential venues are prohibited except where no more than 25 people are gathered.
  • Outdoor gatherings are prohibited at residential venues unless there are 50 or fewer people. At nonresidential venues, outdoor gatherings are permitted if there are 300 or fewer people.
  • Exceptions to the limitations on gatherings are enumerated:
    • incidental gatherings at airports, malls, and the like
    • workplace gatherings consistent with the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) Emergency Rules issued October 14, 2020 (Note that under the MIOSHA emergency rules, employers must “create a policy prohibiting in-person work for employees to the extent that their work activities can feasibly be completed remotely.)
    • voting or official election-related activity
    • certain trainings that cannot be conducted remotely
    • pre-K through 8th grade education and support services
    • childcare organizations and camps, including after-school programs
    • public transportation
    • gatherings for medical treatment, including mental health and substance abuse treatment
    • gatherings at residential care facilities, subject to the March 17, 2021, epidemic order, regarding requirements for residential facilities or any replacement to it
    • CPR courses and proctored nationally administered admissions certification examinations, under certain conditions
    • gatherings at entertainment and recreational facilities, including gatherings for sports practice and competition, that comply with the order’s restrictions
    • gatherings for the purposes of indoor group fitness, exercise, or sports that comply with the particular gathering and organized sports restrictions in the order
    • gatherings for public health or other emergency purposes
  • Organizers and facilities are required to design gatherings to encourage and maintain physical distancing.
  • Gatherings at entertainment and recreational facilities are prohibited unless patrons abide by specific requirements and distancing protocols, including the following:
    • Patrons must wear masks except while eating and drinking.
    • Patrons participating in activities together may not exceed 25 persons indoors or 300 persons outdoors.
    • Patrons must be prevented from mingling or engaging in physical contact with people outside their group.
    • Patrons must maintain six feet of distance from all other groups and must be separate from other groups while eating.
    • Venues must abide by specific density limitations, including limiting occupancy to 50 percent of the limits established by the fire marshal and maintaining six feet of distance between groups.
    • Venues must also abide by maximum capacity limitations: For indoor entertainment and recreational facilities, no more than 300 patrons may be gathered in any distinct space. For outdoor entertainment and recreational facilities and for stadiums and arenas (with certain exceptions), no more than 1,000 patrons may be gathered. At indoor stadiums and arenas with a fixed seating capacity over 10,000, no more than 750 patrons may be gathered. At outdoor stadiums and arenas that establish and abide by an infection control plan complying with MDHHS’s Enhanced Outdoor Stadium and Arena Guidance, gatherings may not exceed 20 percent of the venue’s fixed seating capacity. The order includes other specifications for such stadiums and arenas, including requiring a testing program for all players.
  • Gatherings are prohibited at food service establishments, whether indoor or outdoor, unless there are designated dining areas with specific distancing and seating designations; patrons may not gather or mingle in common areas; and indoor dining venue may not exceed 50 percent of normal seating capacity or 100 persons, whichever is less. This limitation does not apply to soup kitchens and shelters. Food service establishments must close between 11:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. and must display the MDHHS “Dining During COVID-19” brochure prominently. If an employee of a food service establishing tests positive for COVID-19 or shows principal symptoms while at work, a gathering at that food service establishment is prohibited until “the food service establishment has been deep cleaned consistent with Food and Drug Administration and [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidance.”
  • Gatherings at nontribal casinos may not exceed 30 percent of total occupancy limits.
  • A gathering at a retail setting, library, or museum must not exceed 50 percent of total occupancy limits but may permit one customer at a time to enter if strict adherence to this rule would result in closure. Retail stores must establish lines to enforce distancing. Any spaces for indoor dining, including food courts, must comply with the requirements for food service establishments in the order.
  • Exercise facilities may operate at 30 percent of total occupancy limits, there must be six feet of distance between each occupied work station, and the physical layout of the space must allow exercisers to move between stations while maintaining distancing. Group fitness classes are permitted indoors and outdoors, provided that participants distance and wear a face mask at all times.
  • Gatherings in outpatient waiting rooms are permitted with distancing regulations. To the extent possible, this should include asking patrons to wait in their cars until called.
  • Gatherings at an indoor pool not otherwise prohibited by this order must not exceed 30 percent of bather capacity limits described in AC, R 325.2193. Gatherings at an outdoor pool not otherwise prohibited by the order may not exceed 50 percent of capacity limits.
  • Gatherings at ice and roller rinks are permitted provided that occupancy is limited to 10 people per 1,000 square feet, including within the exercise space. Gatherings for noncontact sports and open skating are permitted.
  • Personal care service providers must provide all services by appointment. The order does not specifically prohibit services that involve the removal of face masks.
  • Gatherings at public, nonpublic, and boarding schools for in-person instruction and extracurricular activities in prekindergarten through grade 12 are permitted subject to local health department and school district authority.
  • Gatherings at colleges and universities, trade schools, and career schools are permitted for in-person classes and other institution-sponsored events, subject to the limitations in this order.
  • Gatherings for the purpose of contact sports and competition are prohibited unless all participants remain masked or, where it would be unsafe for participants to remain masked, all participants are tested consisted with the MDHHS’s document Interim Guidance for Athletics updated March 20, 2021.
    • Gatherings for sports practices and competitions are prohibited unless participants maintain six feet of distance from each other when not engaged in play.
    • Gatherings of nonparticipants for the purpose of observing sports practice and competition must be held consistent with section 3 of the order.
    • Sports organizers, venues, and teams must ensure that all gatherings for sports competitions and practices comply with the gathering restrictions for entertainment facilities, recreational facilities, and food service establishments.
    • Even where it is not required, sports organizers are encouraged to administer a testing program as specified in MDHHS’s document Interim Guidance for Athletics updated March 20, 2021.
    • Beginning on April 2, 2021, gatherings for the purpose of sports practice and competition involving people age 13 to 19 are prohibited unless all such people participate in a testing program as specified in the MDHHS publication entitled Interim Guidance for Athletics updated March 20, 2021.
  • Face masks are required at all gatherings, including private residential gatherings of more than one household. Participants in gatherings for exercise, group fitness, or organized sports must comply with the MDHHS’s Interim Guidance for Athletics updated March 20, 2021. The order lists numerous exceptions to the face mask requirements, notably including individuals engaging in an activity that requires them to remove their mask and are “in a facility that provides ventilation that meets or exceeds 60 ft3/min of outdoor airflow per person,” as well as individuals “at a residential gathering where all persons are fully vaccinated and not experiencing the principal symptoms of COVID-19.”
  • Contact tracing requirements are specified for gatherings at personal service providers, exercise facilities, in-home services, and more. The new order states that the data collected must not be sold or used for sales or marketing without express permission, must be protected as confidential, “[m]ust not be provided to law enforcement or immigration officials except upon receipt of a lawful subpoena from a court or other lawful court order,” and must be retained for 28 days, after which time it must be destroyed. All dine-in food service establishments must maintain accurate records of the names and phone numbers of patrons who purchase food for consumption on the premises at the date and time of entry.
  • As with prior orders, nothing prohibits religious worship.
  • As with prior orders, violations of the order are punishable by a civil violation of up to $1,000 per violation or per day of continued violation.
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