Michigan Governor Directs Robust Enforcement of COVID-19 Executive Orders

Governor Whitmer continues to issue social distancing-related executive orders to combat the rise of COVID-19 cases in Michigan. Most recently, the governor issued Executive Order 2020-153 requiring face coverings in many places outside the home, and Orders 2020-160 and 2020-161 limiting social gatherings and events, and enhancing workplace safety, respectively. A willful violation of these orders is a misdemeanor under state law.  

Moreover, on August 4, 2020, the governor issued Executive Directive 2020-8 directing state departments and agencies to enhance their enforcement of current executive orders. First, the governor is requesting departments and agencies to review allocation of resources and prioritize enforcement of COVID-19-related laws to establishments where transmission is well-documented, such as nursing homes, meat processing plants, and agricultural labor camps.  

In addition, departments and agencies must consider violations of law, including violations of executive and epidemic orders, issued pursuant to Michigan’s Public Health Code, as evidence of whether the individual or business is suitable for licensing. If a department or agency becomes aware of a “credible complaint” relating to a licensee’s violation of a COVID-19 executive or epidemic order, the complaint must be referred to the relevant licensing authorities. Non-compliance with a COVID-19 executive or epidemic order is presumed evidence of a “public health hazard” or “imminent and substantial hazard to the public health.” As such, departments and agencies may suspend a license, and in regards to food establishments, order immediate cessation of operations, due to a violation.

Lastly, the Department of State Police must enforce violations of COVID-19 executive and epidemic orders in the same way it would enforce any other violation of law.

The directive took effect immediately on August 4, 2020. 

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.