Outdoor gatherings in certain parts of East Lansing are now limited to 10 people, maximum, following a new public health order from Ingham County Health Department.
According to a press release from the Ingham County Health Department, “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.”
This area faces the most stringent restrictions since it has the highest frequency of noise violations — an indicator of large house parties — and a high concentration of college students in a county where people aged 20-29 account for 40-percent of all Covid-19 cases. The order, Ingham Emergency Order 2020-25, is effective immediately and was passed to prevent any future large-scale gatherings related to football games and Halloween.
The previous restriction limited outdoor gatherings in this area to 25 people. Indoor gatherings in this zone are still limited to 10 people not living in the same household.
Schools, childcare organizations, community centers, places of religious worship, farmers’ markets and parks are exempt from the new order. Gatherings there are limited to 100 people.
Restaurants are not classified as social gatherings and are not affected by the order.
At a press conference yesterday, Vail said that there was some concern that students from the University of Michigan, who have been asked to shelter in place by officials in Washtenaw County, might travel to East Lansing for festivities related to the UM-MSU football game this weekend.
Although the daily number of Covid-19 cases are falling in the area, travel between the two cities poses risks as Covid-19 cases are rising throughout the state. Vail told reporters yesterday that since Sept. 1, 25 Ingham residents have died of Covid-19 and on Monday, local hospitals had more than 30 emergency room visits related to Covid-19.
Currently, four Ingham County residents are hospitalized with Covid-19, including one in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Local hospitals are treating patients from other parts of Michigan, Vail said, and are nearing capacity.
While many students kept their gatherings small to celebrate MSU’s first football game of the season last Saturday, seven citations were issued for violating Ordinance 1496, which makes it a civil infraction to violate public health orders.
On Monday, ELi reported that four citations had been issued, but the ELPD weekly crime report includes seven violations on Saturday, Oct. 24.
At the same press conference, Vail encouraged trick-or-treaters and those distributing candy to take precautions, such as wearing face masks and maintaining six feet of distance. Trick-or-treating, Vail said, presents less Covid risk than parties.
ELi has updated its map that shows what’s required where by public health orders. View it here.
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