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Michigan’s mask mandate loosened for outdoor events and athletes

Athletes don’t need a mask for many outdoor sports and are exempt from COVID-19 testing if they are fully vaccinated
Michigan's Gatherings and Mask Order is changing on Thursday.
Michigan's Gatherings and Mask Order is changing on Thursday.(Pixabay)
Published: May. 4, 2021 at 7:32 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Face coverings no longer are required outdoors for most gatherings in Michigan under a change to the state mask mandate announced Tuesday evening.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services amended the mask mandate to remove the requirement for face coverings at outdoor gatherings with fewer than 100 people. The new order takes effect Thursday and is scheduled to remain in effect through Memorial Day on May 31.

Anyone fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and not showing symptoms of the illness also are no longer required to wear a mask for indoor or residential gatherings.

Athletes, coaches and team officials also have fewer COVID-19 mask and testing requirements with the new order.

Athletes will not need to wear a mask when they are playing non-contact sports outdoors. State health officials say for example, baseball and softball players need to wear a mask in the dugout, but not while they are playing a position on the field.

Fully vaccinated athletes and coaches are exempt from weekly COVID-19 testing mandates. However, athletes and coaches who are not considered fully vaccinated still need to receive a weekly rapid antigen COVID-19 test to continue participating in practice or competitions.

This graphic explains when Michigan residents do and don't have to wear a face covering outdoors.
This graphic explains when Michigan residents do and don't have to wear a face covering outdoors.(source: State of Michigan)

“The commitment by Michiganders to receive the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is allowing us to move toward a return to normal,” said Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Elizabeth Hertel. “The vaccines work. That means once Michiganders are fully vaccinated, they do not have to abide by as many health guidelines because of the protection the vaccine provides from the spread of the virus.”

The state health department is making the following changes to the Gatherings and Mask Order for outdoor gatherings and venues:

  • Large outdoor events are limited to 1,000 people. However, events like festivals and golf tournaments can exceed that limit if they post a COVID-19 safety plan, which provides for a limit of 20 people per 1,000 square feet.
  • Stadiums are allowed up to 20% of their fixed seating capacity if they post a COVID-19 prevention plan.
  • Up to 1,000 patrons are allowed at stadiums or arenas with 5,000 or more fixed seats without a COVID-19 plan, which is an increase from the previous limit of 750 people.
  • Up to 1,500 patrons are allowed at stadiums or arenas with 10,000 or more fixed seats without a COVID-19 plan.
  • Outdoor residential gatherings are allowed up to 50 people. That limit can increase to 300 people as long as there are fewer than 20 people congregating per 1,000 square feet of space.

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