News Story

Whitmer Speaks At Event That Appears To Violate Her Own Orders

An official webpage for the Kresge Auditorium in the Traverse City-area community of Interlochen describes it as a “historic outdoor amphitheater.”

The Aug. 6 memorial for former Michigan Gov. William Milliken was held there for this reason, and also to better accommodate the crowd expected under COVID-19 conditions. Current Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was one of the attendees.

Under a recent executive order Whitmer issued, outdoor events in that part of the state are limited to 250 people, and there can only be 10 people present at an indoor gathering.

Despite being held in an outdoor setting, the event appears to have violated the order anyway, highlighting how complicated the governor’s many epidemic-inspired mandates and restrictions can get, and how hard it can be to abide by them.

The Kresge Auditorium’s webpage calls the venue a “open-sided amphitheater” and a “covered pavilion.”

The auditorium does not meet the definition of “outdoors” specified in the governor’s executive orders, which means the Milliken event should have been limited to 10 people.

A webpage about the executive order defines “indoors” this way: “As used in the order, ‘indoors’ means within a space enclosed on fully or partially on the top and fully or partially on the sides. Indoor spaces therefore include most buildings (including barns and garages), vehicles (including tour or party buses), and temporary structures (including tents or canopies with side walls or coverings).”

The Kresge Auditorium is fully enclosed on top. A 360-degree virtual tour of the facility shows there are numerous partial walls surrounding the seating. So it appears to meet the executive order definition of an indoor facility.

Media reports about the event have also been confused. For instance, a story WPBN-TV published about the memorial reads, “There is seating for about 500 with social distancing.” Under the executive order, outdoor events are limited to 250 people in that region of the state.