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Executive Order 2020-183: Increased Gathering Sizes and Places of Public Accommodation to Open Soon

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Laura J. Genovich and Cody A. Mott
Foster Swift Legal Update E-blast
September 28, 2020

Crowd of peopleLate last Friday, September 25, 2020, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-183 (“EO 183”). This order, which rescinded prior safe start orders, allows places of public accommodation to reopen and increases the number of persons that may attend indoor or outdoor social gatherings and organized events.

Places of Public Accommodation

Beginning October 9, 2020, places of public accommodation may open to the public. Places of public accommodation are indoor and outdoor services or facilities which involve close contact of persons for amusement or recreational purposes. This includes indoor theaters, cinemas and performance venues; amusement parks; arcades; bingo halls; bowling centers; indoor climbing facilities; indoor dance areas; roller rinks and ice rinks; trampoline parks; carnival or amusement rides; waterparks; and all other similar facilities.

Businesses that operate as places of public accommodation must develop a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan within two weeks of opening. In addition to the workplace safeguards for all businesses, places of public accommodation must:

  • Post signs telling customers to stay home if they are or recently have been sick.
  • Maintain accurate records of all members of the public that enter the business. This includes each customer’s name, the time and date of entry, and contact information such as a phone number. Such records are to aid with contract tracing. Any customer that does not comply may not enter.
  • Establish crowd-limiting measures to reduce congestion at points of entry and exit. Measures may include digital queuing, separate waiting areas, and physical markers to designate social distancing. For ticketed events, consider dismissing groups based on ticket numbers or rows and adopting specified entry and exit times for vulnerable populations.
  • Use of physical and visual cues like dividers, floor markings, and signs to maintain social distancing.
  • Train employees on how to monitor and enforce compliance with COVID-19 protocols and how to help customers that become symptomatic.
  • Frequently disinfect high touch surfaces during events or as necessary. Also, disinfect and deep clean facilities after each event and throughout the day.
  • Close self-serve food and drink options like buffets, salad bars, and drink stations.

For help drafting a COVID-19 response and preparedness plan or for questions regarding the above safeguards, please contact your Foster Swift attorney or a member of our Coronavirus Task Force, below.

Social Gatherings and Organized Events

EO 183 raised the number of persons not part of the same household that are permitted to gather. Social gatherings or organized events are events that bring persons from multiple households together at the same time for a discrete, shared, or group experience in a single space. Prior executive orders limited indoor events to 10 persons or fewer and outdoor events to 100 persons or fewer for regions other than 6 or 8. In addition to gatherings of those sizes, EO 183 also allows for events based on venue seating capacity or square footage. The below chart summarizes the various occupancy limits for social gatherings and organized events:

Capacity Limits under EO 183

Indoor Non-Residential Events

Outdoor Non-Residential Events


Fixed Seating Venue

Venue without Fixed Seating

Fixed Seating Venue

Venue without Fixed Seating

Regions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 7

20% seating capacity

20 people per 1,000 square feet of venue space or in each room

30% seating capacity

30 people per 1,000 square feet of venue space or in each room

Regions 6 & 8

25% seating capacity

25 people per 1,000 square feet of venue space or in each room

30% seating capacity

30 people per 1,000 square feet of venue space or in each room

Max Capacity (all Regions)

500 people

1,000 people

These capacity limits apply to weddings, receptions, or other social events, even if they are held at a restaurant or bar that is subject to different occupancy standards.

For questions concerning occupancy limits or related to this communication, please contact:

For questions or assistance related to COVID-19, contact your Foster Swift attorney or a member of Foster Swift’s Coronavirus Task Force: