State and Federal Legislative Updates

STATE

MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (MDHHS)

Gov. Whitmer Lifts Mask Requirement for Fully Vaccinated Michiganders

MAY 14, 2021 - Governor Gretchen Whitmer today announced the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is updating the Gatherings and Mask Order to align with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest guidance on face coverings. The new order will effect on Saturday, May 15 at 9AM

On Thursday, the CDC released updated guidance recommending “fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”

 

Under the updated MDHHS Gatherings and Mask Order, Michiganders who are outdoors will no longer need to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status. While indoors, fully vaccinated Michiganders will no longer need to wear a mask, but residents who are not vaccinated, or have not completed their vaccinations, must continue to wear a mask or face covering to protect themselves and others. After July 1, the broad indoor mask mandate will expire.

FOR EMPLOYERS

The New Order eliminates the mask requirement for all individuals when outdoors, regardless of vaccination status. Furthermore, the New Order permits fully vaccinated individuals to be indoors without a mask. Individuals that are not vaccinated will need to continue to observe mask requirements, with the general mask requirement currently set to expire July 1, 2021.
 

Importantly, however, Michigan Occupational and Safety Administration (MIOSHA) rules remain in force and effect. As a result, workplace requirements remain unchanged, with employers still required to make masks available to employees. Additionally, all employees must wear masks when they cannot consistently stay six feet apart, are in shared spaces and common areas and in meetings—regardless of vaccination status. 

MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (MDHHS)

MDHHS updates epidemic order and lifts mask requirements for outdoor gatherings of under 100 people

MAY 4, 2021 - The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) today updated its COVID-19 Gatherings and Face Masks epidemic order to encourage safer outdoor activities as spring and summer bring warmer weather and new opportunities to go outdoors. Under the new order, which goes into effect Thursday, May 6 and continues through Monday, May 31, masks are generally not required outdoors unless a gathering has 100 or more people. 

In addition, anyone who is fully vaccinated and not experiencing symptoms is not required to wear a mask at residential gatherings, including indoors. New guidance for organized sports no longer requires routine COVID-19 testing for fully vaccinated participants if they are asymptomatic. Masks continue to be required for contact sports but are no longer required outdoors during active practice and competition for non-contact sports. For example, softball and baseball players will be required to wear a mask in the dugout but not when at bat or playing first base. 
 

Updates to the Gatherings and Masks Order encourage outdoor events with larger capacities permitted for entertainment and recreational facilities and for sports stadiums and arenas that hold events outdoors. This includes: 
 

  • Large outdoor events, including festivals, fairs, and golf tournaments will be able to exceed the current 1,000-person limit so long as they create and post a safety plan consistent with the MDHHS Large Outdoor Event Guidance, and no more than 20 persons per 1,000 square feet are gathered in any space available to patrons.  
     

  • Outdoor stadiums and arenas: 

    • Stadiums complying with enhanced protocols will continue to be allowed to operate at 20% of their fixed seating capacity. For example, a stadium with a maximum capacity complying with enhanced protocols would be permitted to host 8,000 patrons. 

    • Otherwise, for stadiums or arenas with a fixed seating capacity of 5,000 or greater without enhanced protocols 1,000 patrons may be gathered (previously 750). 

    • For stadiums or arenas with a fixed seating capacity of 10,000 or greater without enhanced protocols 1,500 patrons may be gathered. 
       

  • Residential outdoor gatherings are allowed up to 50 people. Or, where density does not exceed 20 persons per 1,000 square feet of usable outdoor space, up to 300 people may be gathered.   

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus. To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit Michigan.gov/COVIDVaccine.

Read the full order here.

MICHIGAN SUPREME COURT

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.