INGHAM COUNTY, Mich. — The Michigan Supreme Court says Governor Gretchen Whitmer does not have the authority to extend emergency orders that are COVID-19 related.
The ruling puts Gov. Whitmer’s executive orders in limbo. But that ruling, which came down on Oct. 2, doesn’t mean the mask mandate is going anywhere, especially in Ingham County.
Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail has issued four countywide emergency orders to keep several COVID-19 protections in place, including the mask mandate.
Vail’s first order requires people to wear a face-covering in any indoor public space in Ingham County.It also requires people to wear a mask outside if proper social distancing is not possible.
The second order is a limit on gatherings. Ingham County residents still can’t have more than 10 people at an event. There are a few exceptions to this rule.
The third order requires bars/restaurants to keep the capacity load below fifty percent.
The fourth and final order requires employee screenings at places where people work.
According to Vail, none of these restrictions are new. The purpose of the new orders was to clear up any confusion regarding safety rules following the decision from the Michigan Supreme Court. Ingham County is at level E, or the highest level of risk for COVID-19 according to the MI Safe Start Map.
“Health and science experts agree that facial coverings, social distancing, and health screenings are critical to controlling the virus,” said Vail. “We have made too much progress to regress. We are working hard to get our young people back to school, keep our businesses and government open, and make progress in our economic recovery.”
Gov. Whitmer says that the ruling from the court doesn’t take effect for 21 days, therefore the orders are still in place until at least Oct. 23. The Michigan Supreme Court said Gov. Whitmer’s use of a 1945 emergency powers law violated the Michigan Constitution.
“Protecting Ingham County residents is a responsibility that I take very seriously,” Vail said. “With a recent surge in cases in Ingham County, now is not the appropriate time to relax precautions.”
Willful violation of any emergency order could result in jail time and/or a fine less than $200.
Read the new emergency orders here: Ingham2020-21, Ingham2020-22, Ingham2020-23, and Ingham2020-24.
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