Gov. Whitmer relaxes COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings
“We can and we will become the state that beat the damn virus,” the Governor said.
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - With a new vaccine on the way and efforts underway to distribute several others, Michigan is arguably in a better position to combat COVID-19 since the first two cases were found in the state almost one year ago. Still, the pandemic has taken the lives of over 15,000 Michiganders, hurt the local economy and is expected to continue until enough of the population is vaccinated to halt the spread.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, and MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel gave a joint press conference Tuesady where they gave updates on the continued efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.
There are some notable benefits to getting COVID-19 numbers under control before the majority of the population is vaccinated. With the daily COVID-19 infections generally down in recent weeks, Governor Whitmer announced a lightening of restrictions on bars, restaurants and many other industries.
“As we continue our vaccine rollout and make steady progress against the virus, we are taking additional incremental steps to re-engage to ensure we are protecting our families and frontline workers and saving lives,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “Michigan is a national leader in the fight against COVID-19, and our fact-based, data-driven approach will help our state rebuild our economy and resume normal day-to-day activities.”
The changes include many rollbacks on restrictions. Restaurants and bars may have 50% indoor dining capacity, up to 100 people, although tables must still be six feet apart with a max of six people at a table. A curfew on indoor dining will remain in effect, but this order moves it from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. Retail shops are allowed to operate at 50% indoor capacity, casinos are allowed to function at 30% indoor capacity, and gyms are allowed to operate at 30% capacity.
Outdoor gatherings can resume with up to 300 people, while athletic stadiums and arenas that seat 10,000 people or fewer may allow up to 375 attendees. For stadiums with seating capacity over 10,000, they can have 750 people.
Due to the nature of COVID-19, restrictions on indoor private residential gatherings are capped at 15 people from three separate households. Non-private indoor gatherings involving people from different households are allowed to have up to 25 people.
Movie theaters, bowling alleys and similar venues can also increase indoor capacity to 50%, with a maximum of 300 people.
The changes to these restrictions will go into effect Friday, although Governor Whitmer was careful to remind Michiganders that the fight against COVID-19 continues.
“As always, mask up, maintain social distancing, and wash your hands,” Governor Whitmer said. " We all have a personal responsibility to slow the spread of the virus so we can end this pandemic together. One of the most important things Michiganders can do is make a plan to get the safe and effective vaccine when it’s available to you.”
The Governor said, “We can and we will become the state that beat the damn virus.”
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