DHHS order mandates masks, limits capacity until Oct. 30

    These signs have popped up during the COVID-19 crisis, Lansing | Susan J. Demas

    Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Director Robert Gordon issued a new order to restrict gathering sizes, require face masks in public spaces and limit capacity in businesses. 

    A number of these regulations were already in place through Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders, but the Supreme Court quelled the governor’s executive orders on Oct. 2. 

    The DHHS order requires that masks are worn at all businesses, offices, schools, childcare facilities, sporting events and other non-residential events, and in most cases businesses aren’t allowed to admit anyone without a mask. 

    The order also sets regulations on capacity limits. 

    Gatherings at retail stores, libraries and museums must be capped at 50% of the maximum capacity, except in the Traverse City region. Sporting and gym facilities must limit attendance to 25% of the maximum capacity and there must be at least six feet of distance between workout stations. Non-tribal casinos are limited to 15% capacity. Restaurants are limited to 50% of their maximum capacity. 

    Businesses, including, but not limited to, sports and entertainment facilities, theaters, concert halls, sporting venues, stadiums, are required to keep updated and accurate records of the names, contact information, date and time of entry of all visitors for contact tracing purposes.

    This order is in effect until Oct. 30.

    Statewide cases

    DHHS reported Friday that 133,134 total Michiganders have tested positive for COVID-19 and 6,876 have died from the virus — an additional 1,095 cases and seven deaths since Thursday.

    The department also reports that an additional 14,682 Michiganders have been identified as “probable” cases for COVID-19, as well as 324 probable deaths. It began tracking probable cases on April 5.

    Combining the state’s confirmed positive cases with probable cases brings the total up to 147,816 statewide cases and 7,200 deaths.

    The virus has been detected in all of Michigan’s 83 counties. The state’s COVID-19 fatality rate has dropped again slightly to 5.2%.

    The first two cases of COVID-19 were reported in the state on March 10. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency that day.

    Johns Hopkins University reports that there are more than 36.7 million confirmed cases worldwide and 1.1 million deaths. About one-quarter of those are in the United States, where more than 7.6 million confirmed cases and 213,158 deaths have been recorded.

    Allison Donahue
    Allison Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.