The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has extended and made additional restrictions on businesses and restaurants in-order to slow the spread of COVID-19, while numbers are rapidly increasing statewide.
Effective immediately, indoor gatherings will be limited to 50 people maximum, down from 500. Specifically noted were events like banquets, parties, and weddings.
Changes to per-table seating will be made too, with bars and restaurants now needing to limit seating at tables to six people at a single table. Staff will also need to begin recording the names and phone numbers of patrons inside, so their information can be used for contact tracing if a positive case is linked to the business.
As of Thursday, the MDHHS was monitoring 34 COVID-19 outbreak sites- 12 of which involved bars and restaurants.
MDHHS Director Robert Gordon says violations of the orders will now be punishable by up to a $1,000 civil fine or misdemeanor charges carrying up to 90 days in jail and a $200 fine. Businesses that don’t comply could face action against their licenses to operate.
Director Gordon also moved the northern Lower Peninsula backward to Phase 4 of the MI Safe Start plan which will now have all regions of the state treated equally.
Michigan’s mask and face covering requirements remain in effect, but with holidays coming quickly; State health officials also issued a number of guidelines designed to limit virus spread:
-Meet outside whenever possible and limit time with others indoors.
-Limit indoor gatherings to no more than two households or 10 people.
-Wear a mask or face covering at all times outside the home, except when eating or drinking, and then immediately put it back on.
-Don’t talk loudly, because higher volume can increase the spread of COVID-19 by up to 30 times.
-Maintain 6 feet of social distancing & Wash hands regularly.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued Thursday’s orders under the Public Health Code of 1978, which is not affected by the Michigan Supreme Court’s October 2nd ruling limiting Governor Whitmer’s emergency powers.