State and Federal Legislative Updates

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MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (MDHHS)

MDHHS new epidemic order allows indoor group exercise, non-contact sports

JANUARY 13, 2021 - The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has updated its epidemic order today to allow re-opening of additional activities where Michiganders can remain masked and socially distanced, as this has been scientifically shown to slow the virus. This includes indoor group exercise and non-contact sports. The new order is effective Saturday, Jan. 16 and will last until Sunday, Jan. 31.

Previously, MDHHS had identified stabilization or declines in three metrics as critical for relaxing protocols. Although Michigan saw improvements across all three following the “pause” implemented in mid-November, some numbers have plateaued or begun to increase in recent days:

  • Hospital capacity dedicated to COVID-19 patients has been in 13-day decline, with current capacity is at 12% for beds with COVID-19 patients. Peaked at 19.6% on Tuesday, Dec. 4.
     

  • Overall case rates: increasing, currently at 266 cases per million. Peaked at 740 cases per million on Saturday, Nov. 14 and declined to a low of 239 on Friday, Dec. 25
     

  • Positivity rate: plateauing; currently at 9.1% after reaching a low of 8.1% on Monday, Dec. 28 and increasing up to 10% since then.

     

The epidemic order continues to temporarily pause indoor dining in bars and restaurants, but they can continue to offer outdoor dining, carry-out and delivery. The working plan is to open indoor dining with mitigation measures, capacity limits and a curfew on February 1, but the ultimate decision depends on data continuing to stabilize. Additional details on the reopening pathway are expected next week.
 

Colleges and universities can have students return to campus for the winter semester and restart in-person courses as of Jan. 18.
 

As before, employees who work in jobs that cannot be performed from home can continue to go to work, while employees who can work from home should continue to do so. Individualized activities with distancing and face masks are still allowed: retail shopping; public transit; restaurant takeout; and personal-care services such as haircuts, by appointment.

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 DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (MDHHS)

MDHHS extends epidemic order through January 15, updates indoor activity guidelines

DECEMBER 18, 2020 - The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has updated its epidemic order today to allow indoor activities where Michiganders can remain masked, as this has been scientifically shown to slow the virus. This includes in-person learning at high schools and indoor entertainment venues. Casinos, bowling centers and movie theatres will be allowed to reopen with total capacity capped at 100; food and drink concessions closed; and social distancing requirements in place. The new order is effective Monday, Dec. 21 and will last until Friday, Jan. 15.

  • Indoor residential gatherings remain limited to 10 people and two households. MDHHS continues to urge families to avoid indoor gatherings or to pick a single other household to interact with consistent with guidance already released by the department. Families are encouraged to stay home this holiday season to maintain the positive momentum that has developed and to protect loved ones. Families are also encouraged to Mask Up, Mask Right, using new guidance for what masks to wear and how to wear them.
     

  • The epidemic order continues to temporarily pause indoor dining in bars and restaurants, but they can continue to offer outdoor dining, carry-out, and delivery. Colleges and universities will be able to have students return to campus for the winter semester, with a voluntary commitment to wait until Jan. 18 to restart in-person courses.
     

  • Gyms remain open for individual exercise with strict safety measures in place. Outdoor group fitness and outdoor non-contact sports will again be allowed, including running, downhill and cross-country skiing.
     

  • Under this new order, reopened indoor entertainment venues will not be required to collect names and contact information. With the amount of community spread that currently exists across the state and the heavy burden on contact tracing teams to keep up with these cases, it has become too challenging to meaningfully use this data for timely follow up. As case counts fall and contact tracing becomes able to keep up with the volume again, MDHHS expects to reinstate this information-gathering requirement.
     

  • As before, employees who work in jobs that cannot be performed from home can continue to go to work, while employees who can work from home should continue to do so. Individualized activities with distancing and face masks are still allowed: retail shopping; public transit; restaurant takeout; personal-care services such as haircuts, by appointment; and individualized exercise at a gym, with extra spacing between machines.
     

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 DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (MDHHS)

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


Outdoors


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 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.

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