Open Meetings Act Restrictions Issued Due to Rise in COVID-19 Cases
City of Detroit Issues Public Health Order Extending Remote Public Access to Open Meetings and Requiring Social Distancing at Meetings
- Detroit Chief Public Health Officer issues new order regarding all government body meetings to reduce the transmission of COVID-19
DETROIT, December 16, 2021 — In order to protect the public health from further transmission of COVID-19 within the City, Detroit's Chief Public Health Officer Denise Fair Razo issues an emergency epidemic health order requiring public bodies subject to the Open Meetings Act to extend remote public access to meetings and requiring social distancing for individuals physically present at meetings through March 31, 2022.
The order states that action is necessary to continue to protect the public health from further transmission of COVID-19, citing the following data:
Many areas of Detroit have vaccination rates below the level required to achieve community immunity to limit spread of the virus, which remains a concern as the spread of COVID-19 may result in emerging and more dangerous variants, such as B.1.617.2 (Delta) and B.1.1.529 (Omicron) becoming higher proportionally through the interactions of vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.
After December 31, 2021, government meetings subject to the Open Meetings Act must be held in-person. To maximize public access to government meetings while protecting the public health, all bodies subject to the Open Meetings Act must continue to allow members of the public to remotely and effectively participate in government meetings.
To further mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and provide essential protections to vulnerable individuals, it is also crucial to limit the number of people physically gathered in a place where an open meeting is held to the extent necessary to ensure that individuals remain at least six feet apart.
“Protecting the public’s health and safety remains our number one priority while recognizing the responsibility to provide open access to public meetings.” said Chief Public Health Officer Denise Fair Razo. “This order will help reduce the risks associated with COVID-19 to the personal health and safety of both members of the public and public bodies.”
Fair Razo added the order may be revised or supplemented, per the Michigan Public Health Code.
A copy of the Order can be found here: https://detroitmi.gov/news/declaration-continued-emergency-epidemic-order-due-covid-19-effective-january-1-2022-march-31-2022