Outdoor gathering restriction tightened to no more than 10 people in parts of East Lansing
The area was previously restricted to 25 people.
EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - No more than 10 people may gather outdoors in parts of East Lansing, including the downtown area, per an emergency order issued today by Ingham County Health Officer Linda S. Vail. The order is effective immediately and will remain in place indefinitely. It was issued to limit the spread of COVID-19, which has seen a recent resurgence.
The restricted area stretches from the northern edge of the Michigan State University campus to Burcham Drive and is bounded by Harrison Road to the west and Hagadorn Road to the east, including properties adjacent to those streets. County and city officials identified the area based on the frequency of noise ordinance violations historically occurring in the area due to large house parties.
The area was previously restricted to 25 people under an emergency order issued by Vail in Aug.
“COVID-19 cases are growing rapidly in many parts of the state, and large social gatherings are a driving force,” said Vail. “By further reducing the size of gatherings in this section of East Lansing, we may prevent local outbreaks associated with Halloween and football-related gatherings. Based upon observations and citations issued under the previous emergency order, stricter gathering controls are necessary.”
The restricted area has a high concentration of college students and rental properties. People ages 20-29 years old account for 40 percent of all COVID-19 cases in Ingham County since the pandemic began.
Here are some frequently asked questions about the restrictions and answers from the Ingham County Health Department:
What restrictions does this order establish?
“Under Emergency Order Ingham 2020-25, outdoor social gatherings and organized events may not exceed 10 people within the area extending south from Burcham Drive to the northern edge of the MSU campus and the area located between Harrison and Hagadorn roads. Where Burcham Drive ends at Abbot Road, the north boundary extends in a straight east/west line from the end of Burcham Drive to Harrison Road. It’s important to note that the boundary includes properties on or adjacent to both sides of the bounding streets (i.e. north and south sides of Burcham Drive, east and west sides of Hagadorn and Harrison roads). See boundary map in Ingham 2020-25 for more information.”
Why are outdoor social gatherings and organized events being further restricted in this area?
“Historically, the area identified in this order has had the highest frequency of noise ordinance violations due to large house parties. Large social gatherings like house parties have demonstrated an increased public health risk during the COVID-19 pandemic, with potential for further outbreaks and super-spreading events.”
What about indoor social gatherings and organized events in the restricted area?
“Currently, indoor social gatherings and organized events in this area are limited to 10 people not from the same household per Michigan Department of Health and Human Services' (MDHHS) Gathering Prohibition and Face Covering Order. All gatherings, indoors and out, must be designed to ensure that people from different households maintain a social distance of at least six feet.”
What about indoor and outdoor social gatherings in the rest of the City?
“Currently, social gatherings and organized events in the rest of the City (the area outside of the beige shaded area on the boundary map – insert link) are limited to 10 people not from the same household indoors and 100 people not from the same household outdoors per Michigan Department of Health and Human Services' (MDHHS) Gathering Prohibition and Face Covering Order. All gatherings, indoors and out, must be designed to ensure that people from different households maintain a social distance of at least six feet.”
Are there exceptions/exclusions to this order?
“Schools, childcare organizations, community centers, places of religious worship, farmers markets and parks within the area are exempt from the order, but must continue to comply with the 100-person outdoor limit per Michigan Department of Health and Human Services' (MDHHS) Gathering Prohibition and Face Covering Order. Bars and restaurants are also exempt from this order as they are categorized as separate from social gatherings.”
Are there penalties for disregarding this order?
“Yes. 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. Under a new City of East Lansing ordinance, any person who violates the order could alternatively or additionally receive a municipal civil infraction ticket, punishable by a fine of $500.”
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