The Washtenaw County Health Department announced plans to restrict outdoor gatherings of more than 25 people in the cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, according to an announcement released to the public early Wednesday night.
The county’s plans come after Ingham County, home to Michigan State University, announced similar plans Tuesday afternoon.
Jimena Loveluck, health officer for Washtenaw County, explained the intentions behind the new county-wide policy.
“Social gatherings without preventative measures can quickly lead to increased local cases of COVID,” Loveluck said. “Additional restrictions on the size of outdoor gatherings as well as a strong recommendation to keep records of attendees will help prevent the spread of illness and allow us to respond quickly if cases are identified.”
The new policy reduces the size of legal outdoor gatherings from 100 to 25, and mandates that individuals not belonging to the same household must keep at least 6 feet of distance from one another, while masks are required.
Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor said this was an important action to take.
"I support the Washtenaw County Health Officer's social gathering limitation 100% and thank her for her leadership,” Taylor added. “Permanent residents, students, and everyone in between needs to know that they are the key to slowing the spread of COVID-19.”
The announcement comes while students are rapidly returning to campus and after University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel doubled down on the University’s plans to remain in-person for the upcoming semester.
Since the start of the pandemic, Washtenaw County has confirmed 2,371 cases of COVID-19, among the highest of counties in the state. Additionally, 51% of cases reported have been diagnosed in people under the age of 30.
Daily News Editor Ben Rosenfeld can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org