• March 2, 2021 Gatherings and Face Mask Order (in effect through April 19, 2021)

    Michigan law imposes on the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) a duty to continually and diligently endeavor to “prevent disease, prolong life, and promote the public health,” and gives the Department “general supervision of the interests of the health and life of the people of this state.” MCL 333.2221. MDHHS may “[e]xercise authority and promulgate rules to safeguard properly the public health; to prevent the spread of diseases and the existence of sources of contamination; and to implement and carry out the powers and duties vested by law in the department.” MCL 333.2226(d).

    The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory disease that can result in serious illness or death. It is caused by a new strain of coronavirus not previously identified in humans and easily spread from person to person. COVID-19 spreads through close human contact, even from individuals who may be asymptomatic.

    In recognition of the severe, widespread harm caused by epidemics, the Legislature has granted MDHHS specific authority, dating back a century, to address threats to the public health like those posed by COVID-19. MCL 333.2253(1) provides that:

    If the director determines that control of an epidemic is necessary to protect the public health, the director by emergency order may prohibit the gathering of people for any purpose and may establish procedures to be followed during the epidemic to insure continuation of essential public health services and enforcement of health laws. Emergency procedures shall not be limited to this code.

    Considering the above, and upon the advice of scientific and medical experts, I have concluded pursuant to MCL 333.2253 that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to constitute an epidemic in Michigan. I have also, subject to the grant of authority in 2020 PA 238 (signed into law on October 22, 2020), herein defined the symptoms of COVID-19 based on the latest epidemiological evidence. I further conclude that control of the epidemic is necessary to protect the public health and that it is necessary to restrict gatherings and establish procedures to be followed during the epidemic to ensure the continuation of essential public health services and enforcement of health laws. As provided in MCL 333.2253, these emergency procedures are not limited to the Public Health Code.

    I therefore order that:


    • “Camp” means a day, residential, travel, or troop camp for children (as defined by Rule 400.11101(1)(q) of the Michigan Administrative Code).
    • “Child care organization” means that term as defined by section 1(b) of the Child Care Organizations Act, 1973 PA 116, as amended, MCL 722.111(b)).
    • “Contact sports” means sports involving more than occasional and fleeting contact, including: football; basketball; rugby; field hockey; soccer; lacrosse; wrestling; hockey; boxing; futsal; martial arts with opponents; and other sports meeting those criteria.
    • “Competition” means a game of skill played between opposing teams.
    • “Employee” means that term as defined in section 2(c) of the Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act, 2018 PA 337, as amended, MCL 408.932(c), and also includes independent contractors.
    • “Entertainment and recreational facility” includes: auditoriums; arenas; cinemas; concert halls; performance venues; sporting venues; stadiums; theaters; night clubs; strip clubs; water parks; archery ranges; amusement parks; arcades; bingo halls; bowling centers; casinos; gun ranges; laser tag arenas; trampoline parks; and the like.
    • “Exercise facility” means a location in which individuals participate in individual or group physical activity, including gymnasiums, fitness centers, and exercise studios.
    • “Face mask” means a tightly woven cloth or other multi-layer absorbent material that closely covers an individual’s mouth and nose.
    • “Food service establishment” means that term as defined in section 1107(t) of the Food Law, 2000 PA 92, as amended, MCL 289.1107(t).
    • “Gathering” means any occurrence, either indoor or outdoor, where two or more persons from more than one household are present in a shared space.
    • “Household” means a group of persons living together in a shared dwelling with common kitchen or bathroom facilities. In dwellings with shared kitchen or bathroom facilities occupied by 20 or more unrelated persons, households are defined by individuals who share a bedroom.
    • “Indoors” means within a space that is fully or partially enclosed on the top, and fully or partially enclosed on two or more contiguous sides. Additionally, in a space that is fully or partially enclosed on the top, and fully or partially enclosed on two non-contiguous sides, any part of that space that is more than 8 feet from an open side is indoors.
    • “Non-contact sports” means sports that are not contact sports.
    • “Outdoors” means a space that is not indoors.
    • “Organized sports” means competitive athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and organized by a sports organizer.
    • “Practice” means a training session for a game of skill, involving only members of a single team.
    • “Principal symptoms of COVID-19” means at least 1 of fever, uncontrolled cough, or atypical new onset of shortness of breath, or at least 2 of the following not explained by a known physical condition: loss of taste or smell, muscle aches, sore throat, severe headache, diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal pain. Per section 1(j) of 2020 PA 339, this definition represents the latest medical guidance, and serves as the controlling definition.
    • “Sports organizer” means an association or other organization that sets and enforces rules to ensure the physical health and safety of all participants for an organized sport. Sports organizers at the sub-association level must follow all health and safety rules and procedures set by the association of which they are a member.

    For more information on the following:
    • General capacity limitations at gatherings.
    • Gathering restrictions for entertainment facilities, recreational facilities, and food service establishments.
    • Gathering restrictions for other facilities.
    • Schools, colleges, technical schools, and universities.
    • Organized sports gathering restrictions.
    • Face mask requirement at gatherings
    • Exceptions to face mask requirements
    • Contact tracing requirements for particular gatherings.
    • Implementation.

    Please click here.

    This order takes effect on March 5, 2021, at 12:01 AM, at which time the February 4, 2021, order entitled Gatherings and Face Mask Order is rescinded. This order remains in effect through April 19, 2021, at 11:59 PM. Persons with suggestions and concerns are invited to submit their comments via email to COVID19@michigan.gov.

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