Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail issued four countywide emergency orders following the Supreme Court ruling that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lacked the authority to declare a state of emergency after April 30.
These orders keep several COVID-19 protections in place including the use of face coverings, limitations on indoor and outdoor gathering sizes, 50% or 125-person capacity limit for restaurants and mandatory employee health screenings, according to the release.
The goal is to remove uncertainty around the continuation of precautionary measures for Ingham County residents and businesses, the release states.
According to Emergency Order 2020-21, face coverings must be worn in any indoor public space; when outdoors and unable to maintain six-feet distance; when waiting for or riding public transportation and by any athletes training for, practicing or competing in an organized sport when six feet distance cannot be maintained.
“Health and science experts agree that facial coverings, social distancing and health screenings are critical to controlling the virus,” Vail said in the release. “We have made too much progress to regress. We are working hard to get our young people back to school, keep our businesses and government open, and make progress in our economic recovery.”
According to the Public Health Code, a local health officer has the power to protect and promote public health during an epidemic. Under Act 368 of the code, if a local health officer determines control of an epidemic is necessary for public health, he/she may issue an emergency order to prohibit the gathering of people and may establish procedures to be followed by the public to ensure enforcement of health laws.
A willful violation of an emergency order may constitute a misdemeanor punishable by up to six-months imprisonment or a fine of up to $200.
“Protecting Ingham County residents is a responsibility that I take very seriously,” Vail said. “With a recent surge in cases in Ingham County, now is not the appropriate time to relax precautions.”
Ingham County currently sits at the highest risk level – “Level E”—on the MI Safe Start Map, as the Lansing area continues to have more than 150 cases per million people and an increasing positivity rate at about 4%. As of Friday, the county reported a total 3,600 cases of COVID-19 and 50 deaths.
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