Saturday, December 4, 2021

Mayor extends state of emergency and downtown mask order for East Lansing

November 9, 2020
Downtown East Lansing on Sept. 18, 2020. The city of East Lansing has posted signs and has information stations with free masks for those who visit the area.
Downtown East Lansing on Sept. 18, 2020. The city of East Lansing has posted signs and has information stations with free masks for those who visit the area. —
Photo by Annie Barker | The State News

East Lansing Mayor Aaron Stephens signed a new proclamation and order to extend the city’s state of emergency last Friday along with the requirement to wear a mask in all outdoor public spaces within the boundaries of the East Lansing Downtown Development Authority (DDA).

This order and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services' gatherings and face mask orders both require masks to continue to be required at all times in public spaces in the DDA district, both inside and outside. For other areas of the community, mask requirements may vary and community members are encouraged to review MDHHS' gatherings and face mask order.

 “COVID-19 hospitalizations in our county have increased significantly in recent weeks, which is why it is vitally important that we continue to remain vigilant and look out for one another,” Stephens said in the press release. “We are calling on all community members to continue to wear a mask and practice safe physical distancing when out in public spaces for the health and safety of our community.”

According to Ordinance No. 1488, the mayor of East Lansing is allowed to declare a state of emergency in the city and issue orders, rules and regulations regarding the use of the public property to protect life and property during the declared emergency. A violation of this order qualifies as a civil infraction, punishable by a fine up to $25.

The requirement to wear a mask does have some exceptions, including those who are younger than five years old, people who cannot medically tolerate a mask, those who are seated at a table/food service establishment and are eating or drinking and those who are exercising when wearing a mask would interfere with the activity.

The DDA district has installed signs at entry points as well as throughout the downtown area and inside parking garages. These signs notify visitors that masks are required in these areas. Sidewalks in the downtown area have also been chalked with reminders to wear a mask. A downtown mask ambassador program has also been implemented, which encourages community members to wear a mask during high traffic times and hands them out for free.

This extended order can initially only be in place for seven days, but it can be continued through Dec. 31, 2020, with the consent of the East Lansing City Council. It is expected that the council will be considering the order’s continuation at its special, electronic meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 10.

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