Whitmer closes indoor service at bars in lower Michigan

((source: WJRT))
Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 4:29 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Exectuive Order 2020-143, closing indoor service at bars throughout most of lower Michigan in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

This ban does not include outdoor service at bars statewide. Regions 6 and 8, which include the Upper Peninsula and much of northern Michigan, are excluded from the order. It takes effect at 11 p.m. tonight.

This comes after Whitmer signed bills allowing for cocktails-to-go at bars and restaurants across the state to help businesses survive and serve Michigan residents during the difficult time.

“We owe it to our front line heroes who have sacrificed so much during this crisis to do everything we can to slow the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the chance of a resurgence like we are seeing in other states,” said Governor Whitmer in a Wednesday news release. “Following recent outbreaks tied to bars, I am taking this action today to slow the spread of the virus and keep people safe. If we want to be in a strong position to reopen schools for in-person classroom instruction this fall, then we need to take aggressive action right now to ensure we don’t wipe out all the progress we have made.”

Over the past week, coronavirus numbers have jumped up in every region of Michigan. According to the release, daily case counts now exceed 20 cases per million in the Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Kalamazoo regions, and nearly 25% of diagnoses in June were of ages 20 to 29, up 16% from May.

Bars have reopened across the country, and some have been linked to a growing number of outbreaks, one of which being Harper’s, with 138 confirmed cases.

“I urge all Michiganders to double down on mitigation tactics like wearing masks, practicing physical distancing, and washing hands, so we can get our trajectory headed in the right direction again,” said Governor Whitmer “If we open up our economy too quickly, the efforts of the last three months will be for nothing and we will have to go through this pain all over again and put our economy, health and medical system at risk. Nobody wants to move backward. Everyone, please do your part, and let’s show the nation and the world how smart we are.”

The governor’s order applies to establishments with on-premises retailer liquor licenses that earn more than 70% of their gross receipts from alcohol sales. That means that most brewpubs, distilleries, and vineyards can stay open indoors.

Copyright 2020 WILX. All rights reserved.

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