State and Federal Legislative Updates



MDHHS issues three-week epidemic order amid fall COVID-19 surge

NOV. 15, 2020 -  The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has issued a new emergency order that enacts a three-week pause targeting indoor social gatherings and other group activities in an effort to curb rapidly rising COVID-19 infection rates. The order takes effect on November 18, 2020 at 12:01 AM and remains in effect through December 8, 2020 at 11:59 PM; at this time, the previous October 29, 2020 emergency order is rescinded. 

Unlike the blanket Stay Home, Stay Safe measures enacted in the spring, this emergency order leaves open work that cannot be performed from home, including for manufacturing, construction and health occupations.

Under this order, indoor residential gatherings are limited to two households at any one time. However, MDHHS strongly urges families to pick a single other household to interact with over the next three weeks, consistent with new guidance released by the department. The order is aimed at limiting residential and non-residential gatherings where COVID-19 spreads rapidly.

  • Bars and restaurants will be open for outdoor dining, carry-out and delivery only.

  • Gyms will remain open for individual exercise with strict safety measures in place.

  • Casinos, movie theaters and group exercise classes will be closed.

  • Professional and college sports meeting extraordinary standards for risk mitigation may continue without spectators, however all other organized sports must stop.

  • Colleges and high schools may proceed with remote learning, but must end in-person classes.

Read the full order here.


Michigan health department issues emergency order following Supreme Court decision

OCT. 29, 2020 -  The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has announced new capacity restrictions on indoor gatherings, effective immediately. 


Indoor venues without fixed seating must limit gatherings such as weddings, parties, and banquets to no more than 50 people, down from the maximum of 500. Restaurants, bars and other venues may seat no more than six people at a table. Starting Monday, Nov. 2, all dine-establishments must keep customers' names and phone numbers for contact-tracing purposes

Limits on attendance at residential gatherings
  • Indoors: Up to 10 persons

  • Outdoors: Up to 100 persons 

Limits on attendance at non-residential venues
  • For Fixed Seating: No more than 500 persons are gathered, attendance is limited to 20% of the seating capacity of the venue

  • Without Fixed Seating: No more than 50 persons are gathered, and attendance is limited to 20 persons per 1,000 square feet in each occupied room

  • All persons at the gathering are to wear a face mask

  • Only six people are permitted at each table


Outdoor gatherings up to 1,000 persons occurring at a non-residential venue are permitted only to the extent that the organizers and venue:

  • For Fixed Seating: limit attendance to 30% of seating capacity

  • Without Fixed Seating: limit attendance to 30 persons per 1,000 square feet, including within any distinct area within the event space

  • Require that each person at the gathering wear a face mask

Read the full order here.


Michigan health department issues new emergency order with updated provisions

OCT. 9, 2020 -  Following the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Emergency Order on Oct. 5, 2020, MDHHS Director, Robert Gordon, issued a new Emergency Order on Oct. 9, 2020, which takes its place. This order was put into effect immediately and expires on Oct. 30, 2020.


The Oct. 9 Emergency Order ("Emergency Order Under MCL 333.2253 – Gathering Prohibition and Face Covering Order" ) reinstates many, but not all, of the provisions in Governor Whitmer's now void COVID-19 related executive orders.

The main categories of the MDHHS Oct. 9 Order can be broken down into the following categories:

  • Protection of Workers

  • Attendance and Capacity Limitations; face covering requirements

  • Face covering requirements applicable to businesses, governmental offices, schools or other operations

  • Exceptions to face covering requirements

  • Additional requirements applicable to food service establishments

  • Additional requirements applicable to organized sports

  • Contract tracing requirements applicable to certain businesses

  • Penalties for violations

A full menu with details regarding the new emergency order categories can be found at the bottom of this Miller Canfield resource page. 


Michigan Supreme Court Rules Against Governor's Emergency Powers

OCT. 2, 2020 -  In a 4-3 majority opinion, the Michigan Supreme Court has ruled that Governor Gretchen Whitmer did not have the authority to declare or extend states of emergency in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic via the Emergency Management Act of 1976 and the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act from 1945. 

It is unclear at this time what impact this will have on the Executive Orders that are currently in place. Further updates will be posted here as they are made available.

Read the full Michigan Supreme Court ruling.


March 28, 2020

President Donald J. Trump Approves Michigan’s Disaster Declaration

 President Donald J. Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Michigan and ordered Federal assistance to supplement State, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic beginning on January 20, 2020, and continuing. The President’s action makes Federal funding available for Crisis Counseling for affected individuals in all areas in the State of Michigan.

Read more.

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