The state’s health department is putting some teeth behind Gov. Whitmer’s newest Emergency Orders closing indoor service at bars and limiting crowd numbers across the state with the allowance for civil fines of up to $1,000 and referral to licensing agencies for violations of the rules.
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon himself has issued an Emergency Order dated last night, July 29th, reinforcing Executive Orders 2020-160 and 2020-161 and allowing for civil fines of up to $1,000 and those license referrals for violations.
His new order rescinds a June 5th order referencing earlier versions of the governor’s orders.
Gordon says, “Michigan’s efforts to suppress the virus have reduced Michigan’s infection rate from among the highest in the country to a rate similar to the national average,” cautioning, “However, case counts have recently trended upward, from fewer than 100 cases per day in mid-June, to between 500 and 1,000 per day in recent days. We must remain vigilant in our response to this ongoing threat and take all appropriate measures to reduce its impact.”
The Emergency Order requires that everyone must comply with the procedures and restrictions outlined in the following Executive Orders:
- Executive Order 2020-160, which limits statewide indoor gatherings to 10 people or less and, across most of the state, limits outdoor gatherings to 100. (The outdoor gathering limits will remain at 250 in Regions 6 and 8.) It also orders that bars in every region, including those in Regions 6 and 8, must close for indoor service if they earn more than 70-percent of their gross receipts from sales of alcoholic beverages
- Executive Order 2020-161, which orders businesses to develop COVID-19 preparedness and response plans, designate supervisors to implement and monitor those plans, and train employees on workplace infection control and use of personal protective equipment.
Under the governor’s orders, Detroit casinos will also be allowed to open next week on August 5th, but their occupancy will be limited to 15-percent of capacity. Casinos must also conduct a daily entry screening protocol for customers and employees and temperature screenings. Casinos must require patrons to wear a face covering, except while eating or drinking or for identification purposes.
Gordon warns, “Any violations of this Emergency Order by a person regulated by a licensing agency must be referred to the relevant licensing agency for a determination on whether to pursue additional enforcement action on a case-by-case basis.”
Pursuant to MCL 333.2235(1), local health departments are authorized to carry out and enforce the terms of this order. Law enforcement officers may enforce this order and are authorized to investigate potential violations. They may coordinate as necessary with the local health department and enforce this order within their jurisdiction.
Law enforcement officers, as defined in the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards Act, 1965 Public Act 203, MCL 28.602(f), are deemed to be “department representatives” for purposes of enforcing this order and are specifically authorized to investigate potential violations of this order. They may coordinate as necessary with the appropriate regulatory entity and enforce this order within their jurisdiction.
Criminal penalties for violation of the Governor’s Executive Orders will remain an option for prosecutors. The Emergency Order is issued under MCL 333.2253(1).