Oakland County health officials rescind local emergency order on face masks, follow MDHHS’ order

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. – Oakland County Health Division officials said a local emergency order mandating face coverings has been rescinded as the county will follow an emergency order issued Monday by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The county’s local Emergency Order 2020-12 was issued on Saturday in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“The local emergency order issued this weekend is now covered by the emergency order released today by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, Oakland County health officer. “We must remain vigilant with wearing a face covering, social distancing and other protection measures to not regress in our fight against COVID-19.”

The order by MDHHS reinstates major aspects of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s previous emergency orders:

  • Masks are required at indoor and outdoor gatherings that involve people from different households.
  • Specific gathering limitations.
  • Bars must close indoor common areas, and indoor gatherings are prohibited in most areas where alcohol is sold.
  • Athletes training and practicing in an organized sport must wear a mask, except for swimming, or maintain 6 feet social distance.

The order is effective immediately and remains in effect through Oct. 30, according to MDHHS officials.

“The fundamental role of government is to keep the public safe. We know that we are still in the middle of a pandemic with a highly contagious virus,” said Oakland County Executive David Coulter. “It is vital that we maintain the measures that are critical to limiting the spread of the virus and allowing businesses to stay open, schools to re-open and our hospitals to operate safely. I support the actions taken by the governor throughout the pandemic and agree that our State and Local health departments have independent authority – and must now use it – to protect the health of all Michigan residents.”

The county’s local order came after the Michigan Supreme Court ruled against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders, claiming the 1945 law that she drew authority from is unconstitutional.

According to Gov. Whitmer, her emergency declaration and related orders still can remain in place for 21 days, and then many of them will continue “under alternative sources” of law. The governor didn’t elaborate, but it’s likely that her administration will act under public health statutes follow the state Supreme Court’s order.

Since the Supreme Court ruling, Michigan counties have issued local emergency orders.

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