Actions

MSP: Civil, criminal penalties possible for violating stay home orders

MSP file
Posted at 8:56 PM, Apr 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-02 20:56:10-04

LANSING, Mich. — Anyone violating Governor Whitmer's stay home orders may face civil fines or criminal charges.

Governor Whitmer issued a series of executive orders prohibiting large assemblages and events, restricting gatherings and travel, and in-person work that is not necessary to sustain or protect life. The orders also restrict the use of places of public accommodation. Just Thursday, the governor amended her orders to shut down Michigan schools for the remainder of the school year.

“A person can have coronavirus without knowing it,” Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon said. “They can spread the disease to others who can spread it to others. The only way to stop the spread is social distancing. A civil penalty and potential licensing actions send a strong message to Michiganders that social distancing is essential to saving lives.”

Gordon issued a series of Emergency Rules Thursday allowing fines of up to $1000 for violators and prosecutors are able to pursue criminal penalties against violators. The order authorizes local and state police to investigate possible violations and shut down organizations and businesses in violation of the orders, according to a statement by the Michigan State Police.

MSP did tell FOX 17 that places of worship - when used for worship, are exempt from this Emergency Rules.

“There is not a vaccine or a recognized treatment for COVID-19 and our healthcare system is being severely taxed by this pandemic,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “We need people to heed the Stay Home, Stay Safe order as well as other orders issued by the Governor to protect the health and safety of all Michiganders.”