EAST LANSING, Mich. — A $500 fine for not following health orders that East Lansing put in place last year was accidentally allowed to expire Dec. 31. Last week, the city reinstated it.
“Mistakes were made, but once it was brought to our attention we held an emergency City Council meeting that same week," said East Lansing Mayor Aaron Stephens.
According to East Lansing's Deputy Police Chief Steve Gonzalez, 32 tickets were given to people not following health orders last fall, some of which were issued because of large gatherings. Under orders from the Ingham County Health Department, outdoor gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people and three households in parts of East Lansing.
“We have seen violations of that specifically in the fall," Gonzalez said. "During winter time, most of the parties that occur in East Lansing or large gatherings that occur in East Lansing even in normal circumstances occur indoors. So, we have not seen that occur outdoors as much as we did in the fall.”
Stephens says the fine was reinstated to continue keeping the community safe.
“We have to keep these orders in place to make sure that people stay safe. And we have to have tools to make sure people are following the rules and this is just one of those tools," he said.
And he hopes that they encourage the community to continue following the guidelines.
“We’re going to help hold those people accountable, but we would rather just not hold those people accountable at all," Stephens said. "We would rather the spread not occur and people stay safe.”
Unlike the previous one that went through December, this reinstatement will last until the council revokes it. Stephens says that will happen when health officials say it's safe.
The following public health and emergency orders are in effect in East Lansing:
- Indoor gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people and two households.
- Outdoor gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people and three households in parts of East Lansing. The restricted area stretches from the northern edge of the MSU campus to Burcham Drive and is bounded by Harrison Road to the west and Hagadorn Road to the east, including properties adjacent to those streets.
- Outdoor gatherings at residential venues throughout the remainder of the community are limited to no more than 25 people and three households.
- All persons participating in gatherings must wear a face mask over their mouth and nose, including gathering for the purpose of transportation and at businesses, offices, schools, organized events and more.
- Face masks are required within the boundaries of the East Lansing Downtown Development Authority, both inside businesses and in outdoor public spaces.