Michigan Announces New COVID-19 Restrictions in "Pause to Safe Lives" Order

On Saturday, November 14, 2020, 7,072 new COVID cases were reported in Michigan, bringing the total number of people in the state infected by the disease since the start of the pandemic to over 250,000. On Sunday, November 15, 2020, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced new measures designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan. These measures differ from the executive orders issued by Governor Whitmer earlier in the year in that they are being enacted under the Epidemic Emergency Order Provisions found within the Public Health Code (MCL 333.2253).


The order takes effect at midnight on Wednesday, November 18, 2020, and will last for a total of three weeks, through December 9, 2020. It is being billed as the “Pause to Save Lives.” Some of the key provisions include the following:


  • All work that can be done remotely from home, must be done remotely;

  • Grades 9-12, Colleges, and Universities are prohibited from conducting in-person learning;

  • Restaurants and bars are closed for in-person dining;

  • Organized sports (except college and professional sports without spectators) are prohibited;

  • Theaters, movie theaters, stadiums, arenas, bowling centers, ice rinks, indoor water parks, bingo halls, casinos, and arcades are closed during the “Pause to Save Lives.”

The order sets forth additional specific regulations as follows:


Residential Gatherings:

  • Indoor gatherings limited to 10 people from no more than 2 households;

  • Outdoor gatherings limited to 25 people from no more than 3 households.

Non-Residential Gatherings:

  • Indoor gatherings generally prohibited;

  • Outdoor Gatherings at a venue without fixed seating: limited to 25 people, with a maximum of 20 people per 1,000 square feet;

  • Outdoor gatherings at a venue with fixed seating: limited to 20 people, with a maximum attendance of 20% of seating capacity.

Retail Stores, Libraries, Museums:

  • Limited to 30% of total capacity in retail stores, libraries, museums;

  • Retail stores must stablish lines to regulate entry and checkout with markings for patrons to stand at least 6 feet apart

Exercise Facilities:

  • 25% of total occupancy limits;

  • 12 feet of distance between occupied workout station;

  • No group fitness activities or classes;

  • Must maintain accurate records, including date and time of entry, names of patrons, and contact information for the purpose of contact tracing.

Waiting Rooms:

  • Prohibited unless there is an established system to ensure persons not of the same household maintain 6 feet distance;

  • To the extent possible, this system must include a policy that patients wait in their cars until called.

Public Pools:

  • Limited to 25% of bather capacity limits;


Personal Care Services (Barber Shops, Salons, Etc)

  • Only permitted to the extent that services do not involve the removal of face masks

  • All services must be provided by appointment

  • Gatherings in waiting areas are prohibited

  • Must maintain accurate records, including date and time of entry, names of patrons, and contact information for the purpose of contact tracing.


Schools, Colleges, and Universities:

  • In-person instruction for grades 9 through 12, and at colleges and universities are prohibited, except for special education services and English Language Learners;

  • In person instruction for grades K through 8 are permitted, subject to local health department and school district decisions on remote learning.

  • Gatherings are permitted for the purpose of provided services to students in need (i.e. food assistance, access to internet connectivity, physical and mental health care services, and child care)


Organized Sports

  • Generally prohibited, unless all participants, teams, and venues comply with an enhanced testing regimen as specified by the MDHHS.

  • Spectators are prohibited

Face Masks

  • All persons participating in gatherings are required to wear a face mask.

  • Businesses must require employees and patrons to wear masks and deny entry to persons refusing to do so.

  • Child-care organizations must require face masks as follows:

- Children 2 and older: When on a bus or transportation provided by the child-care organizations;

- Children 4 and older: When in indoor hallways and common areas;

- Children 5 and up: In all indoor settings.

  • Exceptions:

- Children younger than 5 outside of a child-care setting;

- Individuals who cannot medically tolerate a face mask;

- Individuals who are eating or drinking while seated;

- Exercising outdoors and able to consistently maintain 6 feet of distance;

- Swimming;

- Receiving a medical service for which removal is necessary;

- Temporary removal for identification purposes;

- Communicating with someone who is deaf or hard of hearing;

- Engaged in a public safety role where wearing a face mask would seriously interfere in performance of duties;

- Polling places;

- Religious services;

- Giving a speech for broadcast, provided that the audience is at least 6 feet away from the speaker.


As always, if you need assistance navigating these orders for yourself or small business, contact us for how we can help.


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