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Berrien County reacts to Michigan Supreme Court striking down Gov’s executive orders

Published: Oct. 6, 2020 at 5:24 PM EDT
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BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. (WNDU) -Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer answered questions about Monday’s Health and Human Services emergency order.

The order comes after the Michigan Supreme Court ruled Whitmer did not have the authority to use her emergency powers to control the coronavirus pandemic.

16 News Now spoke to health officials and lawmakers in Berrien County to hear how they’re reacting to the court’s ruling.

The Berrien County Health Department is referencing the Michigan Department of Health and Human Service’s most recent executive order for guidance on how to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The department told me the Supreme Court’s judgment doesn’t change the importance of continuing measures from the Governor’s executive order to manage the pandemic.

“We know that many of the executive orders have placed important protections, safety protocols, and procedures in place here in Michigan that have worked to really limit the spread of the virus in our community, and have really helped contribute to the favorable outcomes that we’ve been seeing particularly here in Berrien County,” said Berrien County Health Department Communications Specialist Gillian Conrad.

The order specifies updated guidelines on social distancing and gatherings.

Gatherings up to ten people at a home are allowed with masks being recommended.

Gatherings up to ten people at any other indoor venue are allowed with masks being required

Indoor venues hosting more than ten people indoors will have to follow more specific social distancing guidelines including masks.

Outdoor gatherings up to 100 people at a home are allowed with masks being recommended.

Gatherings up to 100 people at any other outdoor venue are allowed with masks being required

Outdoor venues hosting more than ten people will also have to follow more specific social distancing guidelines including a face-covering requirement.

“I think people need to continue being smart. They need to continue washing their hands, wearing masks when they’re in close contact with people inside, and the big one, not touching your face,” said State Representative from Michigan District 79 Pauline Wendzel (R).

Wearing a face covering is encouraged, even for those not required to wear one.

Those exempt from mask requirements include people with a medical reason to not wear a mask, people eating while seated at a restaurant, those exercising while social distancing, people voting, or folks attending a religious service.

Whitmer said this was an important step in continuing the safe management of the coronavirus.

“That’s why I’m thankful that the director of Health and Human Services has epidemic powers that he is using to keep people safe. He’s an important part of my administration and has been a part of every conversation and help inform each decision that we’ve made,” she said.

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