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In-Person Public Meetings Remain Prohibited Under Latest MDHHS Order

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Cody A. Mott and Laura J. Genovich
Foster Swift Municipal Law News E-blast
January 29, 2021

Virtual Meeting with MaskThe most recent Gatherings and Face Mask Order issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) loosens restrictions on indoor gatherings; however, in-person public meetings remain effectively prohibited. The order, issued last week on January 22, 2021, does not take effect until February 1, 2021. It will remain in effect until at least February 21, 2021.

Gatherings and Public Meetings

The order limits indoor gatherings at non-residential venues to 10 or fewer persons from 2 or fewer households. Because most public meetings will include persons from more than 2 households, such public meetings would violate the limitation on indoor gatherings.

Public meetings may be held outdoors if there are fewer than 25 attendees or 20 attendees per 1,000 square feet, whichever is less. Attendees should be separated by at least 6 feet and wear a mask.

Otherwise, public meetings should continue to be held virtually utilizing an electronic platform such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The platform must allow for two-way communications between the members of the public and the members of the public body. Meetings must be properly noticed; this includes publishing the notice on the public body’s website’s homepage at least 18 hours before the meeting is scheduled. The notice should also include an explanation why the public body is meeting electronically, how the members of the public, including persons with disabilities, are able to participate, and how to contact directly the member of the public body. The meeting agenda must be posted online at least two hours before the meeting begins.

Each member of the public body must make a public announcement, to be included in the minutes, that he or she is attending remotely. The member must also specify the county, city, township, or village where the member is physically located.

Please contact your Foster Swift attorney or a member of our Municipal Practice Group for more information on how to properly notice and conduct a virtual meeting or for any other questions related to the MDHHS order.