Coronavirus disease-related restrictions lifted in Michigan, US, following Oct. 2 decision by state's Supreme Court.
Alert Begins 05 Oct 2020 10:31 PM UTC
Alert Expires 02 Nov 2020 11:59 PM UTC
- Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
- Location(s): Michigan
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Business and transport disruptions
In an Oct. 2 decision, the Michigan Supreme Court found the extension of emergency powers issued in late April by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to be unconstitutional, effectively ending the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related restrictions that remained in place statewide. It remains unclear, however, whether the order goes into effect immediately or is subject to a statutory 21-day delay to allow parties to petition for reconsideration. The Office of the Governor has asked the Supreme Court for a 28-day delay, i.e. through Oct. 30, to allow a transition period. Nevertheless, as of Oct. 4, the state's Attorney General has declined to enforce the restrictions further.
Under the most recent guidelines that had been implemented prior to the ruling, the entire state, except the Traverse City region, was on Phase 4 of Michigan's economic recovery plan. Starting Oct. 9, indoor theaters, cinemas, indoor recreation centers, and performance venues would be allowed to reopen. Indoor gatherings or organized events taking place would be limited to 10 people, except at large venues where such events could host up to 20 percent of the venue's capacity, but no more than 500 people. Outdoor gatherings and organized events would be allowed to have up to 100 people. Outdoor gatherings or organized events taking place at a venue with more than 100 people but less than 1,000 will be permitted in cases where attendance is limited to 30-percent venue capacity. Food service establishments that make most of their income from alcohol consumption were to remain closed for indoor service but may maintain outdoor seating.
Additionally, under Phase 4 of the state's economic recovery plan, retail stores were allowed to open at 25-percent capacity, and restaurants and cafes were allowed to offer indoor and outdoor dining services at 50-percent capacity. Barbershops and hair salons, day and overnight camps, outdoor pools, museums, and libraries have also been allowed to operate. Outdoor parks and recreational facilities, as well as office-based businesses could also open.
As of Oct. 5, counties in the Traverse City region were in Phase 5 of the state's economic recovery plan. Under Phase 5, outdoor gatherings of up to 250 people are permitted. Outdoor performances and sporting events can allow up to 500 people if social-distancing measures are in place. Gyms, personal care businesses, movie theaters, and other indoor entertainment venues were also allowed open. The counties on Phase 5 are as follows:
- Antrim, Alpena, Benzie, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Crawford, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Manistee, Missaukee, Montmorency, Otsego, Presque Isle, Roscommon, Wexford
Statewide, residents are instructed to adhere to social distancing guidelines whenever they are in public and to wear protective face coverings when entering an enclosed public space. Employees are urged to work from home whenever possible. Employers must comply with specific social distancing and personal protective equipment (PPE) mandates, along with enhanced sanitation and health screening procedures, among other things.
Business disruptions remain likely. 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.