The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued a new Gatherings and Face Mask Order effective June 1, 2021, through July 1, 2021, replacing the previous order. The new order does not include any capacity limits for any outdoor gatherings or for any residential gatherings, and it caps indoor establishments at 50 percent capacity. The MDHHS also issued a supplemental Gatherings and Face Mask Order Infographic. On July 1, 2021, all broad MDHHS epidemic orders will be lifted.
The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) updated their emergency rules May 21, 2021, to bring them in line with the MDHHS order and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. The updated emergency rules are set to remain in effect until October 14, 2021. Under the rules, employers may allow fully vaccinated employees to not wear face coverings and social distance, provided they have an effective policy to ensure nonvaccinated individuals continue to do so.
Highlights of the June 1 Gatherings and Face Mask Order include the following (items in bold indicate provisions not in the previous order):
- A number of terms are defined, including gathering, household, indoors, and fully vaccinated persons. Under the order, establishment means “a business, store, office, government office, school, organized event, public transit service, or other public or private operation or facility where gatherings may occur.” Establishment does not include residences.
Indoor Gathering Limitations for Establishments:
- The June 1 order does not include any capacity restrictions relating to outdoor gatherings or to indoor gatherings at residences. Indoor gatherings at establishments are permitted only if occupancy does not exceed the greater of (1) 50 percent of established fire marshal limits (or 30 persons per 1,000 square feet if no such limits exist) or (2) 25 persons.
- Exceptions to the limitations on gatherings are enumerated:
- workplace gatherings consistent with the MIOSHA emergency rules issued October 14, 2020, and subsequently extended or replaced
- voting or official election-related activity
- 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
- gatherings for public health or other emergency purposes
- homeless shelters or shelter programs for victims of domestic violence
- Previously enumerated exceptions relating to certain trainings, CPR courses, proctored exams, gatherings at entertainment and recreational facilities, gatherings for purposes of indoor group fitness, and gatherings of public bodies in compliance with the Open Meetings Act, MCL 15.261 et seq., are no longer included in the June 1 order.
- Gatherings at establishments are prohibited unless establishments, hosts, organizers, and other persons responsible for gatherings ensure that the gatherings comply with the requirements of the order. Specific restrictions on gatherings at recreational facilities, food service establishments, retail settings, exercise facilities, pools, and the like are no longer included in the June 1 order.
Organized Sports Gathering Restrictions:
- 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 24, 2021.
- For gatherings where the sports organizer has determined that it would be unsafe for indoor sport participants to wear a mask, participants who are not fully vaccinated persons must be tested consistent with the MDHHS publication entitled Interim Guidance for Athletics issued May 24, 2021.
Indoor Face Mask Requirements and Exceptions:
- Face masks are required at all indoor gatherings, subject to a list of numerous exceptions, the most significant of which is that fully vaccinated persons are not required to wear masks. The June 1 order adds an exception for individuals who “are engaged in practice or competition where the wearing of a mask would be unsafe and are participating in a testing program specified in MDHHS’s document entitled Guidance for Athletics issued May 24, 2021.”
- Establishments must prohibit gatherings 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:
- Gatherings are prohibited at indoor food service establishments unless the establishment maintains accurate records, including date and time of entry, names of patrons, and contact information to aid with contact tracing.
- Previous restrictions on certain types of businesses are no longer included in the June 1 order, but the general contact tracing requirements remain the same. Upon request, establishments must provide names and phone numbers of individuals with possible COVID-19 exposure to MDHHS and local health departments to aid in contact tracing and case investigation efforts. 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.
- The June 1 order includes the same statements regarding implementation as prior orders. As with prior orders, nothing prohibits religious worship. Violations of the order are punishable by a civil fine of up to $1,000.