The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced a continuation of the gatherings and mask epidemic restrictions on Friday. It will remain intact until the beginning of Memorial Day weekend on May 24 and impose masks on younger children.
The new order, which takes effect on April 26, requires children ages 2 to 4 to wear face coverings in child care facilities and at camps. Health officials say the order is based on guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reduce COVID-19 spread among young children.
Similar exemptions from wearing face coverings will continue, including for people who cannot medically wear a mask and for anyone exercising outdoors while keeping 6 feet of social distancing.
Michigan’s gathering limits also will last until May 24 at the current limits of 15 people from three families in residences. Non-residential gatherings are restricted to a capacity of no more than 25 people.
Outdoor gatherings can add up to 50 people in residential settings and up to 300 people in non-residential facilities. Indoor entertainment facilities are limited to 300 people while outdoor venues are confined to 1,000 people.
Athletic stadiums that develop and post-infection control programs such as Comerica Park in Detroit can continue allowing people up to 20% capacity. Water parks, dance clubs and indoor children’s play areas are the only businesses that must remain closed entirely.
“Michigan continues to implement smart health policies and mitigation measures to fight the spread of COVID-19,” said Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Elizabeth Hertel.
State health officials say the three key parameters they track to discover COVID-19 spread around Michigan all are growing at dangerous levels this month. Still, the rates of increase in all three statistics are starting to fall.
The seven-day average rate of positive COVID-19 tests has fallen for five consecutive days to 17.1%, but it persists 390% higher than the low set in February and over three percentage points above the previous 11-month high set in December.
The seven-day average of newly established COVID-19 cases has developed for eight weeks to 613.9 per million people every day. That represents a 475% increase from the low in February but remains well below the record of 737.8 cases per million set on Nov. 14.
COVID-19 hospitalizations have fallen for two consecutive days this week, but live above 4,150. About 18.8% of inpatient hospital beds in Michigan are occupied by COVID-19 patients, which is 373% higher than the low set in February.