May 15 MDHHS Order Removes Mask Requirement for Vaccinated Persons

By Rebekah Page-Gourley posted 05-17-2021 11:23


The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued a new Gatherings and Face Mask Order effective May 15, 2021, through May 31, 2021, replacing the previous order. The new order completely exempts fully vaccinated persons from the mask mandate and does not require unvaccinated persons to wear masks outdoors. The MDHHS also issued the following supplemental materials: a Choosing Safer Activities infographic, Large Outdoor Events Guidance, and Interim Guidance for Athletics.

It is important to note, however, that the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) emergency rules are still in effect until October 14, 2021. Under those rules, employers are still required to provide masks for employees, and both vaccinated and unvaccinated employees must wear masks when they cannot maintain six feet of distance or are in shared spaces.

May 15 MDHHS Gatherings and Face Mask Order Updates

Highlights of the May 15 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 fully vaccinated persons. The list includes a definition for establishment: "a business, store, office, government office, school, organized event, or other operation."
  • Indoor gatherings are permitted at residential venues only if no more than 15 people from no more than three households are gathered. Indoor gatherings at nonresidential venues are prohibited except where no more than 25 people are gathered.
  • At residential venues, outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people are permitted, or if density does not exceed 20 persons per 1,000 square feet of outdoor space, up to 300 people may be gathered. 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 MIOSHA emergency rules issued October 14, 2020, and subsequently extended (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
    • education and support services at public, nonpublic, and boarding schools, colleges, and universities
    • 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
    • gatherings of public bodies and attendees of meetings held by public bodies in compliance with the Open Meetings Act, MCL 15.261 et seq.
  • Organizers and establishments are required to design gatherings to encourage and maintain physical distancing.
  • Gatherings at entertainment and recreational establishments are prohibited unless establishments make a good-faith effort to ensure that (1) patrons participating in activities together do not exceed 25 persons indoors or 300 persons outdoors, (2) patrons do not mingle or engage in physical contact with people outside their group, and (3) patrons maintain six feet of distance from all other groups and are separate from other groups while eating. In addition:
    • Establishments 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.
    • Establishments must also abide by maximum capacity limitations: For indoor entertainment and recreational establishments, no more than 300 patrons may be gathered in any distinct space. For outdoor entertainment and recreational establishments and for outdoor entertainment and recreational establishments 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 with a fixed seating capacity of up to 10,000, no more than 1,000 patrons may be gathered. At outdoor stadiums and arenas with a fixed seating capacity of greater than 10,000, no more than 1,500 patrons may be gathered. At outdoor stadiums and arenas that establish and abide by an infection control plan complying with MDHHS’s Large Outdoor Events Guidance, issued May 14, 2021, gatherings may not exceed 20 percent of the venue’s fixed seating capacity or 20 persons per 1,000 square feet, whichever is greater. The order includes other specifications for such stadiums and arenas, including requiring a testing program as specified in the MDHHS publication titled Interim Guidance for Athletics issued May 14, 2021.
  • Gatherings are prohibited at food service establishments, whether indoor or outdoor, unless there are designated dining areas with specific distancing and seating designations. Indoor dining establishments 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.
  • 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 and outdoor 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.
  • 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.
  • Gatherings for the purpose of indoor contact sports and competition are prohibited unless organizers make a good-faith effort to ensure that all participants who are not excepted from the mask requirement wear masks or, where it would be unsafe to do so, all participants are tested consisted with the MDHHS’s document Interim Guidance for Athletics issued May 14, 2021.
    • Gatherings for sports practices and competitions are prohibited unless participants maintain six feet of distance from each other when not engaged in play.
    • Sports organizers, establishments, and teams must ensure that all gatherings for sports competitions and practices comply with this order.
    • 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 titled Interim Guidance for Athletics issued May 14, 2021.
  • Face masks are required at all indoor gatherings, subject to a list of numerous exceptions in section 7 of the order, the most significant of which is that fully vaccinated persons are not required to wear masks. Establishments must prohibit gatherings of any kind unless they make a “good faith effort” to ensure that all persons at their establishment (including employees) comply with the indoor face mask requirement. A “good faith effort” may include posting a sign notifying people that wearing a mask is required unless a person falls into a specified exception, asking patrons not wearing masks whether they fall into a specified exception, requiring face masks of all patrons and employees, or any other policy designed to ensure compliance.
  • 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 consume food or beverages on the premises at the date and time of entry.
  • As with prior orders, nothing prohibits religious worship.
  • Violations of the order are punishable by a civil fine of up to $1,000.