Executive Orders also revise workplace safeguards, reopen Detroit casinos

By Jennifer Gomori, MAP Editor

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued two Executive Orders limiting indoor social gatherings to 10 people and closing bars for indoor service statewide. Workplace safeguards have also been revised and Detroit casinos may reopen at 15 percent capacity.

Beginning July 31, Executive Order 2020-160 limits any indoor gatherings of persons not from same household to 10 throughout the state. Outdoor gatherings remain limited to 100 for all areas except Regions 6 and 8, the Traverse City area and the Upper Peninsula, which is limited to 250 people gathering outdoors.

Bars in every region, including 6 and 8, must close for indoor service if they earn over 70 percent of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages.

“After seeing a resurgence in cases connected to social gatherings across the state, we must further limit gatherings for the health of our community and economy,” Whitmer said in a press release. “By taking these strong actions, we will be better positioned to get our children back into classrooms and avoid a potentially devastating second wave.”

The order also permits Detroit casinos to reopen Aug. 5 at 15 percent capacity with daily entry screening protocols, including temperature checks. Casinos must also provide social distancing between slot machines and staff must wear masks. Patrons must wear a face covering, except while eating or drinking or for identification purposes.

Executive Order 2020-161 revises workplace safeguards.

Click on the links below for the entire Executive Orders:

The Legislature has approved measures designed to resolve a $2.2 billion hole in the state’s current budget with mainly federal money, $350 million from the Rainy Day Fund, fund shifts, and $483 million in cuts. As COVID-19 reaches the highest level since May, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has issued her two newest executive orders related to wearing masks.Capital Building Lansing Cropped One order requires individuals wear masks in crowded outdoor spaces and businesses open to the public refuse entry and/or service for people who refuse to wear masks. The other order requires public safety officers wear masks if it doesn't interfere with them doing their job and requires businesses to ask non-mask wearing customers to confirm they are not able to medically tolerate a mask before entry. The Michigan Civil Service Commission adopted a measure requiring state workers, who are union members, to reauthorize membership annually. Gov. Whitmer created a nursing home task force to recommend how COVID-19 patients should be treated in the event of a second wave of the virus. SB 899, passed by the House, would give the medical community broad immunity protection against potential legal suits dealing with COVID-19 treatment. A ballot committee called Unlock Michigan is attempting to repeal a 1945 law that gives the Michigan Governor emergency powers by sending a proposal to the Legislature for a vote before the end of the year. The State Board of Canvassers (SBC) has okayed the petition and summary language for a petition. Meanwhile, a group called Keep Michigan Safe claims the Board of State Canvassars did not provide proper notice of their vote on Unlock Michigan’s petition.

For more details about these and other legislative issues, please click here for the July 2020 Karoub Report.

Businesses must ask medical reason for not wearing masks

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an Executive Order clarifying mask rules for the state, which include public safety officers being required to wear face coverings unless it seriously interferes with them doing their jobs.

Executive Order 2020-153 also states businesses must ask customers to confirm their medical reason for not wearing a mask. This clarifies her previous mask order Executive Order 2020-147, which requires individuals wear face coverings inside public places and outdoors in crowded areas where social distancing isn't possible.

Exceptions to the face covering rules include:

  • Children under age five.
  • People who cannot medically tolerate face coverings.
  • People exercising in a way that wearing a mask would interfere with the activity.
  • People eating or drinking while seated in a food service establishment.
  • Voters at a polling place during an election.

In the wake of a recent rise in COVID-19 cases, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a new Executive Order requiring businesses to refuse entry to individuals not wearing a face covering, with limited exceptions. It also requires masks be worn in crowded outdoor spaces.

Executive Order 2020-147 takes effect on July 13. Willful violation of the order is a misdemeanor carrying a $500 fine. No jail time can be imposed.

“Masks can reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19 by about 70 percent,” Whitmer said.

The order reiterates masks must be worn in any indoor public places. It adds businesses open to the public are required to post signs at all entrances regarding the legal obligation to wear a mask and must refuse entry and service to those who refuse to wear a face covering.

Masks are also now required outdoors when individuals not from the same household cannot maintain six-foot distance between them. The order requires face coverings when waiting for or riding on public transportation, in a taxi or ridesharing vehicle, and inside a private car as hired transportation.

Some exceptions include: children younger than five; those who cannot medically tolerate a face covering; and people eating or drinking while seated inside a food service establishment. Those engaging in religious worship are not subject to this order, however, according to a press release from the Governor’s office, CDC guidelines strongly encourage wearing face coverings during religious services.

The pandemic continues to be the impetus behind much of the state's legislation so far this year. Republican Capital Building Lansing Croppedlawmakers announced a $1 billion plan which would put local school districts in charge of their own coronavirus safety protocols, academic calendars, learning plans and extracurricular activities. The “Return to Learn Plan” sends federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds to local school districts so officials can craft their own plans amid COVID-19 concerns. The Legislature passed an $880 million supplemental bill, which was sent to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, allowing the state to hire 500 additional Unemployment Insurance Agency employees and provide childcare and rental assistance, PPE and COVID-19 testing and more. The Legislature also passed a ‘Cocktails to go’ bill for Michigan bars, which was sent to Gov. Whitmer, who is expected to sign the bill. Whitmer extended the State of Emergency, lifted the Stay at Home Order and issued a ‘Play Ball’ Executive Order for professional sports without fans in the stands. Senate Bill 956 would separate COVID-19 nursing home patients, sending them to a dedicated facility in one of Michigan’s eight health care regions. Regular COVID-19 testing of Michigan nursing home residents has been mandated by the state. A ballot committee called Unlock Michigan is seeking to repeal a 1945 law giving the Governor emergency powers. 

For more details about these and other legislative issues, please click here for the June 2020 Karoub Report.