Whitmer Prohibits Events With More Than 50 People In Michigan Amid Virus Concerns

The new restrictions will go into effect Tuesday at 9 a.m.

WWJ News
March 16, 2020 - 7:13 pm
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Photo: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's Office

LANSING, Mich. (WWJ) -- Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has issued a ban on all events with more than 50 people or assemblages in shared indoor spaces over 50 people amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Whitmer signed an executive order Monday evening, changing the temporary order she had previously issued that banned gatherings of 250 people or more.

The new restrictions will go into effect Tuesday at 9 a.m. and will remain in place until April 5 at 5 p.m.

The order does not apply to health care facilities, workplaces that are not open to the public, the state legislature, mass transit, the purchase of groceries or consumer goods, or the performance of agricultural or construction work.

“My number one priority remains to protect the most people we can from the spread of coronavirus,” Whitmer said in a press release. “We are all better off when all of us are healthy, and that’s especially true for the most vulnerable. These aggressive actions are aimed at saving lives. My administration will continue to do everything we can to mitigate the spread of the disease and ensure our children, families, and businesses have the support they need during these challenging times. We are going to pull through this together, just as Michigan has done in the past.” 

The state announced earlier Monday that health officials have confirmed 54 cases of COVID-19 in Michigan. The ban on large gatherings comes as health officials everywhere are encouraging social distancing, which has led to the closure of all bars and restaurants in the state, as well as other public places such as movie theatres and gyms.

“The purpose of the Executive Order, and taking actions like these, is to limit close contact between individuals because of the specific way the virus spreads through respiratory droplets,” said MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, according to a press release. “These are very difficult decisions, but I believe together we can work to make the necessary adjustments to contain the pandemic and support one another.” 


Patients with confirmed infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. 

The best prevention for viruses, such as influenza, the common cold or COVID-19 is to:  

  • If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, call your health care provider. If you do not have a health care provider, call the nearest hospital.   
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer.     
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.     
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.     
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.     
  • If you are sick, stay home, and avoid contact with others.   
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others when in a public setting.   

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.