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On Friday, October 2, 2020, the Supreme Court held Governor Whitmer lacked the authority to issue any executive orders after April 30, 2020 to combat the spread of COVID-19. In response, the Director of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued an Emergency Order to place limitations on bars, the size of gatherings, and to require face masks in certain settings. The order is similar to previous executive orders issued by the Governor.
The Public Health Code gives the Director of the MDHHS the ability to prohibit gatherings and proscribe other regulations necessary to prevent disease, prolong life, and promote public health. The department notes the statute from which it derives this authority was passed in response to the 1918 Spanish Flu and was specifically intended to address epidemics. It is a misdemeanor to violate this order, and violators are subject to imprisonment of not more than 6 months or a fine of up to $200 or both.
To view more news items on the most recent executive orders concerning the COVID-19 pandemic and other hot topics on its legal impact on businesses, organizations and municipalities, be sure to visit our Coronavirus Resource Page. Updated regularly, this page posts articles, videos, podcasts and other tools to keep readers up to date and informed.