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Possible jail time or fine for those who ignore new social gathering limit in Washtenaw County

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Posted at 5:14 AM, Aug 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-20 05:24:56-04

YPSILANTI, Mich. (WXYZ) — The Washtenaw County Health Department is issuing a public health emergency order to limit the size of social gatherings or events within the City of Ann Arbor and the City of Ypsilanti.

No more than 25 people may gather at outdoor events, the health department says.

The order takes effect on August 20 at 5 p.m. and will remain in effect until amended or rescinded.

The local order enhances existing state orders and further restricts social gathering in areas at increased risk for COVID-19 outbreaks as the U-M and EMU student population returns to local universities.

Order-Limiting Outdoor Gatherings in A2 and Ypsi-Aug 2020 by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit on Scribd

“Social gatherings without preventative measures can quickly lead to increased local cases of COVID,” says Jimena Loveluck, MSW, health officer for Washtenaw County. “Additional restrictions on the size of outdoor gatherings as well as a strong recommendation to keep records of attendees will help prevent the spread of illness and allow us to respond quickly if cases are identified.”

The local order reduces the size of allowable outdoor social gatherings from 100 down to 25. Indoor gatherings remain limited to 10 or fewer people not of the same household, as per Michigan Executive Order 2020-160.

At any gathering or event, inside or out, individuals not living in the same household should keep at least 6 feet of distance from one another, according to the department. Face coverings continue to be required in indoor settings and any crowded outdoor settings under Executive Order 2020-153.

Both the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University are requiring face coverings at all times on their campuses.

Washtenaw County has reported a total of 2,371 confirmed cases of COVID-19 to date. In the past month, COVID-19 cases in those 30 years of age and younger represented 51% of reported cases in Washtenaw County. Cases among those of college-age have increased locally and nationally over the summer. With thousands of students returning or relocating to area universities and living in congregate housing, the Washtenaw County Health Officer finds it reasonable and necessary to further limit the size of outdoor social gatherings and organized events and reinforce COVID-19 protective measures in coordination with local municipalities and universities.

State law provides local health officers with the authority to issue orders to protect the public health under Section 2453 of the Public Health Code (MCL 333.2453). Those who disregard the order could be subject to a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than six months and/or a fine of up to $200.

View the Frequently Asked Questions sheet below:

FAQ Washtenaw Order Limiting Gatherings in A2 and Ypsilanti by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit on Scribd

Click here for the number of local cases, guidance for employers, prevention information and testing options in Washtenaw County.