Latest MDHHS Order Increases Stadium Capacity; Relaxes Face Mask Requirements for Fully Vaccinated Persons
Foster Swift Legal Update E-blast
March 19, 2021
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued today its most recent order related to gatherings and face masks. Today’s Gatherings and Face Mask Order, which takes effect March 22, 2021, mirrors the substantive requirements of previous orders, with the exception of changes to stadium capacities, for certain sports leagues, and to the face mask requirement in narrow situations. There is no change in the limitations on gathering sizes or capacity limits for other venues such as food service establishments, exercise facilities, or other entertainment and recreational facilities.
Stadiums and Arenas
Prior to this order, entertainment and recreational facilities, including stadiums and arenas, were limited to 300 patrons in any distinct indoor space or 1,000 patrons for an outdoor venue. Entertainment and recreational facilities are still subject to those limits; however, stadiums and arenas are now in a category of their own and have expanded capacity limits. MDHHS has defined “stadiums and arenas” as venues with fixed seating for at least 5,000 spectators.
Indoor stadiums and arenas with more than 5,000 fixed seats but fewer than 10,000 seats will be limited to just 375 patrons. If the stadium or arena seats more than 10,000, it can have up to 750 patrons gathered.
Outdoor stadiums and arenas with more than 5,000 fixed seats can host gatherings so long as they do not exceed 20% of the venue’s fixed seating capacity. They must also have an infection control plan that complies with MDHHS’s published guidance. Such plans must be posted at the venue and on the venue’s website, and be provided to the local health department and MDHHS at least seven days before events.
For assistance with drafting an infection control plan, please contact your Foster Swift attorney.
High School Sports Leagues
Gatherings for sports practice and competition remain prohibited unless all participants are either masked or tested consistent with the MDHHS guidance. In addition to the MDHHS guidance, all athletes between 13 and 19 must participate in a testing program beginning on April 2, 2021 in order to gather for practice or games.
Expanded Face Mask Exceptions
MDHHS has added two new exceptions to the broad face mask requirement. First, anyone engaging in an activity that requires the removal of a mask but is not covered by another exception may remove his or her mask so long as the facility meets or exceeds 60 cubic-feet per minute of outdoor airflow per person. Second, any fully vaccinated person at a residential gathering is exempt from the face mask requirement, provided he or she is not experiencing any principal symptoms of COVID-19. A fully vaccinated person is someone who has received all required doses of a vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use only more than two weeks before the gathering.