Michigan health department issues coronavirus emergency order

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon issued an emergency order on Friday to restrict gathering sizes, requiring face coverings in public spaces and childcare facilities, placing capacity limitations on stores, bars, and other public venues, and providing for safer workplaces, all in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The emergency order was issued under authority of the Michigan legislature that was enacted in 1918 after the Spanish Flu which done specifically to deal with epidemics.

“Our goal is to maintain policies that have made a drastic difference in the fight against COVID-19,” Gordon said. “Cases are rising, and the science is clear. Masks reduce the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing reduces the spread of COVID-19. Public action is critical to saving Michiganders’ lives.”

The policies all replace previous executive orders issued by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, which have since been ruled to be void by the state Supreme Court, saying the law in which Whitmer utilized her power was wrongly enacted in 1945.


Masks are required at any gatherings including businesses, offices, schools, childcare facilities, sporting events and other non-residential events.

Businesses are prohibited from admitting individuals who do not have a mask on, though are a few exceptions.

The mask requirement continues to apply for organized gatherings larger than 10 indoors and 100 outdoors.

Organized sports require face coverings and have gathering limits.


Capacity limits apply to indoor gatherings, including business, social and recreational.

Except in Region 6, a gathering at a retail store, library or museum may not exceed 50% of total occupancy limit established by state or local fire marshal.

Gatherings at recreational sports and exercise facilities are prohibited if they exceed 25% of the total occupancy limits established by the by state or local fire marshal, or if there is less than six feet of distance between each workout station.

Gatherings at non-tribal casinos may not exceed 15% of total occupancy limits established by state or local fire marshal.


Food service establishments may not exceed 50% of normal seating capacity.

Capacity limits also apply to outdoor gatherings but are less strict.

Restaurants and bars have capacity limits for gatherings and may only serve alcohol to parties who are seated, six feet apart, and remain separate.


Individuals who are in isolation or quarantine because of COVID-19 exposure, symptoms, or test results cannot go to work with others, and employers cannot require them to come to work in person with anyone else present.

Violations of this order are a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than six months or a fine of not more than $200, or both. Violations of this order are also punishable by a civil fine of up to $1,000.