Ingham County Health Department issues updated emergency order prohibiting large outdoor gatherings


An MSU student walks alone through the campus of Michigan State/Photo Credit: MSU University Communications

Nathan Stearns, News Director

EAST LANSING— On Thursday, an emergency order was issued by the Ingham County Health Department, prohibiting outdoor gatherings to no more than 15 people in select parts of East Lansing. The order goes into effect today and updates the previous order that was issued in October, limiting the gathering size of outdoor events to 10 people or less.  

“COVID-19 cases are decreasing, but we are still seeing higher numbers in certain areas of East Lansing. With sports and Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations on the horizon, it is critical to keep social gatherings small,” Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail said. “We are making excellent progress in fighting COVID-19 but do not want to take steps backward.”

This updated order comes at a time when COVID-19 restrictions are gradually being lifted at the state level. The order covers areas that stretch from the northern edge of the Michigan State campus to Burcham Drive. The order also stretches to Harrison road to the east and Hagadorn road to the west.  This selected area has accounted for the majority of noise violations in past school years. 

People within the 20-29 age range are responsible for over 30% of all COVID-19 cases within Ingham County. 

“For the time being, we must remain vigilant when it comes to COVID-19 safety measures,” East Lansing Mayor Aaron Stephens said. “This order is an important tool in continuing to limit social gathering sizes in an area of our community where we have historically seen large parties, and it’s especially important to have these limits in place with the weather warming up and events like Saint Patrick’s Day just around the corner.”

Schools, childcare organizations, community centers, places of worship, farmers markets, and outdoor parks are exempt from the order, however, state mandates must still be abided by.  Penalties for disregarding the order can include a $500 fine or imprisonment for up to six months.