Expanded MDHHS Gathering Prohibition and Face-Covering Order Issued
By Rebekah Page-Gourley, ICLE | 10/12/20

On Friday, October 9, 2020, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued a new Gathering Prohibition and Face Covering Order replacing the initial one issued on October 5. Effective through October 30, 2020, the new order includes some of the same provisions as well as a number of new ones covering workplace safety, contact tracing requirements, and more. Highlights include the following:

  • Definitions of a number of terms, including close contact, child care organizations, and symptoms of COVID-19
  • Gathering restrictions similar to the ones issued in the previous order
  • New capacity restrictions in addition to the gathering restrictions, covering gatherings at gyms and other recreational sports activities, waiting rooms at outpatient health care facilities, professional sports, pools, and more
  • Worker protection provisions prohibiting gatherings of employees in the workplace:
    • Workplace gatherings are prohibited everywhere except Region 6, if not “strictly necessary to perform job duties.” If gatherings are necessary, social distancing is required where practicable. Workplace gatherings are also prohibited if employees not otherwise required to wear face coverings cannot maintain six feet of distance or if such employees occupy the same indoor shared space, such as conference rooms, restrooms, and hallways.
    • Employees subject to a CDC recommendation to isolate or quarantine have been instructed to stay home by a health professional, or who are awaiting tests or test results after having COVID-19 symptoms, “must not be present in a gathering at work until the employee is advised by a health or public health professional that they may return to work” or 24 hours have passed without a fever, 10 days have passed since symptoms or a positive COVID-19 test, and other symptoms have improved.
    • Employers must not require workers to gather in violation of this order.
    • All businesses requiring workplace gatherings must conduct daily self-screening protocol for all employees or contractors in the workplace, including a COVID-19 symptom questionnaire and suspected or confirmed exposure to COVID-19.
  • Specific face-covering requirements for child care organizations, in additions to face-covering provisions previously provided
  • Revised and expanded regulations for food service establishments, including prohibition of gatherings exceeding 50 percent of normal seating capacity and gatherings that involve “any persons not seated at a table or at the bar top”
  • Revised and expanded regulations for organized sports, including audience limits
  • Contact-tracing requirements for personal care facilities, sports and entertainment facilities, and gyms and other recreational facilities (In order to operate, a facility must “maintain accurate records, including date and time of entry, names of patrons, and contact information, to aid with contact tracing” and must deny entry to anyone who does not provide at least their name and phone number.)

Along with the new order, MDHHS issued an infographic and fact sheet illustrating and describing the order’s requirements. You can find all of the orders on the MDHHS Epidemic Orders webpage.

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