IMPORTANT: Updated epidemic order on masks and gatherings

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Monday, May 17, 2021

IMPORTANT: Updated epidemic order on masks and gatherings

Gov. Whitmer lifts mask requirement for fully vaccinated 

On May 13, 2021, the CDC released guidance indicating that fully vaccinated people need not wear a mask in most settings, regardless of whether indoors or outdoors. The CDC indicated that fully vaccinated people are at low risk of experiencing symptomatic or severe COVID-19 infection, and pose a reduced risk of transmitting COVID-19 to others. Additionally, recent studies confirm that transmission of COVID-19 outdoors is exceedingly rare. 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has issued the revised Gatherings and Face Mask Order, effective as of Saturday, May 15, 2021, at 9 a.m. This order remains in effect through May 31, 2021, at 11:59 PM.


  • Fully vaccinated individuals are not required to mask indoors or outdoors.
  • Unvaccinated individuals or those who are not yet two weeks past their final vaccine dose are still required to mask indoors. View the full list of exceptions on page 9.
  • Masks are not required outdoors.
  • Masks are still strongly recommended in crowded spaces, both indoors and outdoors.
  • Distancing of 6’ is still required between individuals/groups not of the same household indoors and out.

  • For compliance, a business/entity must make a "good faith effort" to ensure compliance. That includes:
    • requiring face masks of all patrons and employees.
    • posting a sign notifying people that wearing a mask is required unless a person falls into a specified exception.
    • asking patrons not wearing masks whether they fall into a specified exception.
    • any other policy designed to ensure compliance.

  • Until further notice, the MIOSHA regulations still require masks for employees regardless of vaccine status. More MIOSHA guidance and information are expected soon.

What has not changed?

  • Contact tracing requirements for particular gatherings. 

  • Gathering restrictions and capacity limits.
    • To eat and drink, patrons must be seated, separated by 6 feet, and limited to parties of 6 or less. No mingling of parties. For indoor dining:
      • 50% of normal seating capacity, or 100 persons, whichever is less
      • Indoor dining is closed from 11:00 PM and 4:00 AM;
      • The establishment displays, in a prominent location, the MDHHS "Dining During COVID-19" brochure.

    • All dine-in food service establishments must maintain accurate records of the names and phone numbers of patrons who consume food or beverages on the premises, and the date and time of entry.


The Ottawa County Department of Public Health is implementing the Gatherings and Face Mask Order under MCL 333.2235(1): local health departments are authorized to carry out and enforce the terms of this order. However, local conditions could result in additional Ottawa County orders. 

The scientific research for COVID-19 vaccination efficacy is supported by Ottawa County data:

  • Ottawa County data, as of May 10, 2021, show 92 percent of cases reported since February 1, 2021, have no evidence of any vaccination, and many of the remaining eight percent have evidence of partial vaccination. However, only a minority of cases have true breakthroughs--1.26 percent of cases. Framed another way, 98.7 percent of Ottawa County cases reported since February 1 are not completely vaccinated.
  • Indoor and outdoor activities and gatherings pose minimal risk to fully vaccinated people.
  • Fully vaccinated people have minimal risk of transmitting the virus that causes COVID-19 to others.
  • We still need to learn more about how long COVID-19 immunity lasts and the risk of COVID-19 infection in fully vaccinated people with immune system suppressing conditions.

For additional questions, please email COVID-19 facilities or call 616-393-5645.