COVID-19 Update: Safe Start - The Movies Edition

Last week, the Governor updated her Safe Start requirements via Executive Order 183, allowing movie theaters, performance venues, and recreational facilities to reopen on October 9. Updates to the “Safe Start” Rules are highlighted below (the remaining non-highlighted information was posted previously).

  • Non-residential indoor venues may now open subject to capacity limits.
  • Performance venues and stadiums can operate with capacity limits and up to 500 people.
  • Outdoor gatherings and events are permitted with capacity limits and up to 1000 people.

Details are below about these new rules.

There are also a couple of minor updates to the workplace safety rules in Executive Order 184. Entertainment/sports venue public accommodation locations must record the name and phone number of everyone entering (and anyone who refuses to provide that information must be denied entry). The rules otherwise remain largely the same for everyone else. For work safety requirements by industry (including the new updates), click here.


The safe start rules remain largely the same except for the updates highlighted below.

Remote work: Any work capable of being performed remotely must be done remotely (language is “should be remote” if you are in Up North Regions 6 and 8).

All individuals who leave home must:

  • Follow social distancing measures (6 feet from non-household members to the extent possible);
  • Follow EO 2020-153 (Mask rules—see this previous blog post, which has been updated to reflect the most recent update for school kids K-12).

Public Accommodations Restrictions (theater and other entertainment venues):

Beginning October 9, theaters, performance venues, and recreational facilities (including amusement parks, arcades, trampoline parks, bowling alleys, and ice rinks) can open subject to the restrictions set forth below. [Bowling alleys and rinks are allowed to currently be open for organized sports only]

Gathering and Event Rules (both inside, outside, and venues):

Social gatherings among persons not part of the same household are permitted so long as:

  • Gatherings are designed to ensure 6-feet of distancing between non-household members;
  • Persons not part of the same household keep 6-feet of distance from one another;
  • If indoors, cannot exceed 10 people;
  • If outdoors, cannot exceed 100 people. (250 people in Regions 6 and 8).


  • If an indoor non-residential event venue, venue can have more than 10 people and less than 500 people subject to following:
    • If venue has fixed seating, limit attendance to 20% of seating capacity (25% in Regions 6 and 8 “Up North”);
    • Otherwise, limit attendance to 20 people per 1000 square feet (including 20 people per 1000 square feet per room);
    • Require masks/facial coverings.


  • If an outdoor non-residential event venue, venue can have more than 100 people and fewer than 1000 people subject to the following:
    • If venue has fixed seating, limit attendance to 30% of seating capacity;
    • Otherwise, limit attendance to 30 people per 1000 square feet (including 30 people per 1000 square feet in distinct areas).

This rule applies to work place gatherings and events. Incidental gathering in shared spaces in airports, bus stations, factory floors, restaurants, malls, public pools, and workplaces are allowed (but the rules DO apply to organized events in these spaces)

Organized Sports: Athletes participating in organized sports are not subject to social distancing requirements while on the field of play but must maintain 6-feet of distancing to the extent compatible with that sport and wear a facial covering (except when swimming). DHS Guidance for safety must be followed. Audiences for indoor organized sports are limited to 2 guests per athlete. Outdoor sports audiences are limited up to 2 guests per athlete or 100 people total (including athletes and coaches).and the event must comply with the rules set forth in the above section. No concessions may be sold at indoor venues.

Bars, Restaurants and Nightclubs: [these are not new but I moved these rules to this update to be consistent with how the Governor’s orders are now organized]:

  • Common areas where people can congregate, dance, or mingle must be closed.
  • Indoor service remains closed if more than 70% of gross receipts is from alcoholic beverage sales. This is based upon 2019 sales (or 2020 until present if not in operation then).
  • If closed inside but open outside, then patrons should only enter or exit the establishment, to access the outdoor area, get carry-out, or to use the restroom.

Professional sports teams: Professional sports may resume operations subject to having a COVID-19 safety plan, no audiences, and maintaining 6-feet of distancing when possible.

Parks: Outdoor parks and recreational facilities may be open so long as 6-feet of distancing is maintained between non-household members.

Pools: This section is now part of the “safe at work” orders (and not part of the “safe start” orders). Both outdoor and indoor pools may now be open and rules (which have not changed with the new Orders) are set forth at the very end of the “safe at work”  update here.


The enforcement rules have not changed. Violating the Executive Orders is a misdemeanor. Further, EO-153 stated that the State can suspend business licenses for non-compliance with the face covering requirements and Executive Directive 2020-8 provided that department directors “must consider whether the public health, safety, or welfare requires summary suspension of a license.” MIOSHA can also enforce workplace safety violations.

As always, this update does not constitute legal advice.