Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued a letter of guidance to law enforcement on Tuesday to reaffirm that they should continue to enforce social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders.
Nessel said that after an extension of the state of emergency and disaster failed to pass the Michigan Legislature, many law enforcement officials and members of the public contacted the Department of the Attorney General to clarify what was enforceable.
“The restrictions in Executive Order 2020-69 and Executive Order 2020-70 bear a real and substantial relationship to securing the public health, and they are reasonable,” Nessel said in the letter. “Further, although some restrictions on social interactions have been judiciously loosened by the Governor, the restrictions in Executive Order 2020-69 and Executive Order 2020-70 remain necessary to protect the lives of all Michiganders and bring the emergency created by COVID-19 in Michigan under control. As a result, Executive Order 2020-69 and Executive Order 2020-70 are valid and enforceable under the [Emergency Powers of Governor Act].”
After going head-to-head with lawmakers over extending the state of emergency, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ended the previous state of emergency and disaster declarations and reissued them under the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945 and the Emergency Management Act of 1976. Both new orders are set to expire on May 28.
Whitmer also created two new orders — Executive Order 2020-69 and Executive Order 2020-70 — that close public spaces and restrict non-essential businesses, which Nessel declared valid.
“COVID-19 has created a public health crisis of unprecedented gravity in our lifetime. To date, the most effective means to contain an infectious pandemic is to keep people away from each other,” Nessel said in a statement. “In promulgating Executive Order 2020-69 and Executive Order 2020-70, the Governor has done just that by placing restrictions on certain activities to limit social interactions. The absence of these restrictions would open gateways for the virus to reach every family and social network in every part of the State.”
Read Nessel’s full letter here.
– – –
Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]
Photo “Dana Nessel” by Dana Nessel. Background Photo “Michigan State Police” by Michigan State Police.