Robert Gordon, director of Michigan Department of Health, abruptly resigns

Robert Gordon, the director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, announced his resignation on Twitter Friday afternoon.

Gordon, who has the authority to issue epidemic orders, abruptly announced his resignation just before 3 p.m. calling it an 'honor' to work alongside colleagues.

His resignation comes the same day that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that the state was reopening restaurants for indoor dining at a limited capacity and with a curfew.

Gordon, who was not present for the Friday press conference announcing the new COVID-19 orders, had the power to issue epidemic orders, which was made clear after the Michigan Supreme Court struck down Gov. Whitmer's executive orders at the end of August.

It was not clear when Gordon's final day would be but he indicated he is resigning on Friday.

Shortly after his resignation, Gov. Whitmer appointed Elizabeth Hertel as the director. She currently serves as the Senior Chief Deputy Director for Administration for MDHHS, where she oversees External Relations and Communications, Finance and Administration, Legislative Services, Legal Affairs, Policy & Planning, Strategic Integration, Organizational Services, Workforce Engagement and Community and Faith Engagement. 

"Elizabeth Hertel has dedicated her career to protecting Michiganders’ public health, and she is uniquely prepared to lead MDHHS as we continue working together to end the COVID-19 pandemic," said Governor Whitmer. "She has served across multiple administrations from both parties, and knows how to bring people together to get things done. In her service to the state, she has proven time and again that she will do everything in her power to ensure the health and safety of Michigan families everywhere. Ending the COVID-19 pandemic is going to take hard work and partnership between state government, businesses, and organizations across the state. I know that Elizabeth is ready and eager to start working with partners everywhere to get it done." 

Along with the reopening of indoor dining, The Michigan health department's next epidemic order also allows the sale and consumption of concessions at restaurants, casinos, movie theaters, and stadiums. It also maintains non-residential gatherings of up to 10 people from two households.