The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued orders Oct. 29 to tighten and extend business and gathering restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The directives follow a ruling handed down by the state's Supreme Court earlier in the month immediately lifting all restrictions put in place by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Current MDHHS directives are not affected by that ruling and are being enforced statewide.
Under the new directives, indoor gatherings in nonresidential settings that do not have fixed seating are limited to 50 people. Additionally, restaurants and bars are required to collect customers' contact information and may allow no more than six people per table. Such establishments can continue operating at 50-percent capacity.
Other restrictions remain unchanged. Indoor gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed in residences. Retail stores, libraries, museums, and outdoor pools may open at 50-percent capacity. Gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, skating rinks, indoor pools, and recreation centers can operate at 25-percent capacity. Sports and entertainment venues can open to the public only if attendees keep at least 1.8 meters (six feet) away from each other. Facemasks are required for all residents over the age of two, except for those who cannot medically tolerate wearing one.
The guidelines are in place statewide, as the counties of the Traverse City region have now been moved to the same level of restrictions as the rest of the state.
Officials could amend the orders on short notice, depending on the disease activity or further guidance from the courts.
Heed the directives of the authorities. Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.