News Bite

State Health Department Calls On Athletes To Enter Four-Week Bubble

Only limited contact with others for two weeks before and after an event

Individuals who participate in organized sports are directed to “completely avoid” all other gatherings for a two-week period, both before and after a sporting event, according to an Interim Guidance document released by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. On its face, this would mean no doctor visits, grocery shopping or attending church.

But the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services disputes that interpretation.

“Under our guidance, athletes should not have social contact or gather in groups with others outside of their household or team, except for a few limited circumstances,” said Lynn Sutfin, spokeswoman for the department. “They may attend school or work, receive medical care, get a haircut, or be incidentally gathered to receive services, such as grocery shopping or picking up takeout food. They should not attend any organized gatherings (which are not permitted indoors currently) and should not be gathered in entertainment venues like a movie theater or bowling alley.”

Sutfin added, “It is also important to note that this guidance applies to athletes who are choosing to continue competition while athletics are otherwise suspended.”

Dated Jan. 4, the document on the department’s website states: “During the two weeks before and after events, other than to attend in-person school, athletes should have no social contact outside of teammates, team staff/coaches, or their households. Athletes should comply with all MDHHS gathering orders. They must completely avoid participation in non-team gatherings, and this should be strictly enforced by team staff and coaches.”

The state has defined a “gathering” as “any occurrence, either indoor or outdoor, where two or more persons from more than one household are present in a shared space.”

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.