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Health department issues tighter COVID-19 restrictions for gatherings, restaurants

Posted by: jgomori Posted date: October 30, 2020

Indoor non-residential gatherings in Michigan are limited to 50 people with face masks required per a revised Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) order to control COVID-19 spread.

The MDHHS had set a Gatherings and Face Mask Order previously and revised it Oct. 29 reducing maximum indoor gathering sizes from 500 to 50 in non-residential venues without fixed seating. Those with fixed seating can have up to 500 persons, with attendance limited to 20 percent of seating capacity. Residential gatherings are limited to 10 people.

The revised order limits indoor party sizes at single tables to six people for bars, restaurants and social events outside private homes. It also moves the Traverse City region into Phase 4 of the MI Safe Start system, joining the rest of the state.

“The alarming surge we are now seeing is exactly why we were so worried about the fall season,” said  Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS.  “We must remain vigilant, so we prevent long-term health consequences and unnecessary deaths, and protect our hospital capacity and the health of our frontline health workers.”

Violators can face a civil fine up to $1,000 or a misdemeanor punishable up to six months in prison or a fine of up to $200, or both. Failure to follow the order could violate a business or professional’s license requirements or present a workplace safety violation. The order remains in effect until rescinded.

Stronger indoor gathering recommendations include:

  • Get together outside whenever possible as the risk of getting sick is 20 higher indoors.
  • Limit indoor gatherings to no more than two households and 10 people.
  • Wear a mask, take it off when eating or drinking, then put it back on.
  • Stay 6-feet apart.
  • Keep voices down, high volume increases COVID transmission 30 times.
  • Wash hands regularly and avoid sharing utensils.

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