Michigan’s New COVID-19 Order Increases Gathering Capacity

Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services has issued an updated Gatherings and Face Mask Order. The new order, effective June 1, 2021 through July 1, 2021, repeals all capacity limits for outdoor gatherings and residential gatherings. While not eliminated entirely, indoor gathering limits in businesses, stores, offices, schools, organized events and other facilities have been increased to 50% capacity. The new order follows closely behind the previous MDHHS order which provided that, for the first time since masking requirements went into effect, fully vaccinated persons need not wear a mask in most settings.

While the new order generally increases permissible gathering size at most establishments to 50%, the following exceptions to the 50% limit are permitted:

  1. Workplace gatherings that occur consistent with the Emergency Rules issued by MIOSHA on October 14, 2020, and subsequently extended or replaced;
  2. Voting or official election-related activities;
  3. Education and support services at public, nonpublic, and boarding schools, colleges, and universities;
  4. Children in a childcare organization, after school program, or camp setting;
  5. Persons traveling on a school bus or public transit;
  6. Gatherings for the purpose of medical treatment, including mental health and substance use disorder support services;
  7. Residential care facilities, which are subject to the March 17, 2021, epidemic order entitled “Requirements for Residential Facilities,” or any replacement of that order;
  8. Gatherings for public health or other emergency purposes; and,
  9. Homeless shelters or shelter programs for victims of domestic violence.

Face Masks

The new order mirrors the relaxed face mask requirements contained in the previous order. Face masks are required at all indoor gatherings, subject to numerous exceptions, including that fully vaccinated persons are no longer required to wear masks. The new order provides one additional face mask exception: individuals who “are engaged in practice or competition where the wearing of a mask would be unsafe,” provided however those individuals must also be participating in the MDHHS’s testing program.

As before, establishments must prohibit gatherings unless they make a “good faith effort” to ensure that all persons at their establishment (including employees) comply with the requirements. A “good faith effort” may include posting a sign notifying people that wearing a mask is required unless a person falls into a specified exception, asking patrons not wearing masks whether they fall into a specified exception, requiring face masks of all patrons and employees, or any other policy designed to ensure compliance.

By its terms, the June 1, 2021 Gatherings and Face Mask Order took effect on Saturday June 1, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. and will remain in full force and effect through July 1, 2021 at 11:59 p.m.

As with the prior coronavirus orders, Community Associations must comply with all restrictions and requirements that govern the operation of commonly-used amenities. If you have any questions regarding the current order or would like assistance with drafting appropriate rules and regulations for your Community Association, please contact one of the experienced attorneys at our firm.