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East Lansing City Council issues emergency public health order, violators face $500 fine

January 28, 2021
<p>Downtown East Lansing on Nov. 20, 2020.</p>

Downtown East Lansing on Nov. 20, 2020.

Photo by Annie Barker | The State News

The East Lansing City Council issued an emergency ordinance requiring compliance with any public health orders issued by the State, the Ingham County Health Department, the Mid-Michigan District Health Department or either county's Health Officer Thursday in a special meeting. Mayor Aaron Stephens said this is something the city should have done sooner. 

“We’re going to put the rules in place, and we’re going to put some real teeth on them too,” Stephens said.

If the order is broken, it is a civil infraction with a $500 fine. This ordinance is a renewal of a similar one that expired Dec. 31 of last year. Unlike the previous ordinance, it has no expiration date and remains in effect starting Jan. 29 until it is amended or repealed by the City Council. 

The lack of expiration date concerned a caller who questioned the constitutionality of the ordinance. City attorney Mike Homier said this ordinance falls under the city charter and is constitutional. 

Stephens said that while this was a tough decision to make, it was the right thing to do in order to get COVID-19 under control. 

“I understand that hesitation and the frustration, I do,” Stephens said. “But I just want to remember that there are hundreds of thousands of people in this country that left their families for the last time because of this virus.”

This comes as many MSU students have returned to East Lansing for their spring semester. East Lansing remains a hotspot for COVID-19 and 31% of confirmed cases are for 20-29 year-olds.

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