Expanded capacities for restaurants, gyms, entertainment venues coming Friday; Gov questioned about Gordon agreement
In a press conference today Governor Whitmer announced a loosening of COVID related restrictions that includes allowing restaurants to serve 50% of their capacity up to 100 guests. Public meetings can resume in person meetings with up to 25 people allowed and larger outdoor events up to 300 people are now permitted under the new order.
Changes also mean retail establishments can open to 50% and indoor stadiums and arenas can allow up to 375 people. Outdoor entertainment and recreational facilities may host up to 1,000 patrons.
Other details are here: Gatherings and Mask Order
Nursing home visitations have opened up and other in house restrictions are also being lifted. Here are those changes per the new order now in effect.
With all residents at skilled nursing homes having been offered their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and a vast majority having had their second dose, the Residential Care Facilities Order goes into effect immediately. The order encourages communal dining and group activities for residents and allows indoor and outdoor visitation in all counties regardless of county risk level. Visitation is allowed as long as the facility has not had a new COVID-19 case in the last 14 days and all indoor visitors ages 13 and older are subject to rapid antigen testing. Testing will help keep residents, staff and families safe while allowing for visitation and an increased quality of life for residents. Adult foster care homes licensed for 12 or fewer residents, hospice facilities, substance use disorder residential facilities and assisted-living facilities are encouraged to implement visitor and staff testing protocols.
Visitors will be required to wear face masks or other personal protective equipment when required by the facility at all times. In general, visitors will need to maintain six feet from residents.
During the Q&A portion of the press conference the Governor was questioned about the separation agreement with former MDHHS Director Robert Gordon that reportedly included him receiving $155,000 while agreeing to drop any claims against the state, though no claims were specified.
While stating there was nothing wrong with his performance as Director she added , “He submitted his resignation and I accepted it.” before fending off further questions by referencing the separation agreement.
Gordon resigned in January.
And for the stats behind the loosening up?
MDHHS had been closely monitoring three metrics for stabilization or declines over the past several weeks. As with other states, Michigan’s metrics are mixed. The presence of more infectious variants, such as the B 1.1.7 variant, threatens our progress in control of the epidemic and MDHHS will be monitoring data closely. In recent days:
Sign up online -Info below
March 2, 2021 – District Health Department #10 (DHD#10) is hosting a First Dose COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic for residents 65 and older this Friday, March 5, at all ten DHD#10 offices. Sign up for the clinic is online and vaccine supply is limited, so eligible individuals are encouraged to sign up right away, even if you are currently on our waiting list.
“Many of our 65+ COVID-19 vaccine waiting lists are nearing the end, but based on census data, we know there are still many individuals in this category that have not signed up to receive the vaccine,” stated Kevin Hughes, DHD#10 Health Officer. “Our staff has had trouble reaching many who are on the waiting list also, so we wanted to host a clinic to accommodate our seniors who haven’t received their vaccine yet.”
This vaccine clinic is for individuals 65 and older only. Anyone who signs up that does not meet this requirement will be canceled. This is for the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine only. Individuals will be scheduled for their second dose at this clinic.
Go to www.dhd10.org/schedule and read the instructions and information carefully before scheduling. Please note that if there are no times available when you select the date, then the clinic is full. Not every senior has access to the internet, so we encourage everyone to reach out to family, friends, and neighbors to assist them with scheduling online.
For questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. To stay informed, sign up for our Public Health Alert at www.dhd10.org/subscribe.
After years of struggling with being able to recruit and retain qualified IT staff two years ago the County and NCRESA forged an agreement allowing NCATS to provide network administration and technical support to the myriad of county offices.
Wednesday the Board of Commissioners approved a 3 year contract that will see services expanded to fit the current needs of the county departments.
“The partnership has proven very successful with substantial progress made without IT infrastructure,” said County Administrator Chris Wren.
The board unanimously passed a resolution encouraging the Governor and Legislature to support funding for the Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners programs that would allow inclusion for Newaygo County residents. Currently the programs that provide free tuition to front line workers exclude persons that are considered to be out of district from the eligible institutions which effects all residents of Newaygo County as well as those throughout many rural counties in the state.
“I think it is important for the State to remember that residents in rural communities need to be fairly represented in programs focused on increasing employment opportunities and potentially higher wages,” said Board Chair Bryan Kolk.
In other business the board approved a contract for the repair of electrical damage at White Cloud County Park that resulted from a lightning strike this past fall, approved contracting for the demolition and asbestos assessment of the former Hardy Grocery building, and accepted a proposal aimed at augmenting the current emergency notification system.
Commissioners also approved the updated Emergency Operations Plan.
What it means for you.
NEWAYGO COUNTY, Feb. 19 – The Newaygo County Courthouse has recently been approved to move into Phase 2 again. This means that the Trial Courts will be able to facilitate a limited number of in-person hearings as approved by the presiding and Chief Judge. Jury trials may also be conducted if the Trial Courts meet additional metrics to do so safely in the community.
Consistent with Michigan Supreme Court directives the Newaygo County Trial Courts must take every measure possible to protect the public and court personnel. If your business with the court can be handled via phone, fax, mail, or email, please continue to use those methods before coming to the courthouse. The public will be permitted into the building for in-person emergency and essential hearings, hearings where litigants have right to be present, or for limited in-person hearings approved by the presiding and Chief Judge. Emergency or essential functions involve the health, safety and Constitutional rights of the citizens of Newaygo County.
If you make a visit to the Courthouse during this time staff may inquire about your business and provide guidance to limit exposures within the courthouse. Courthouse visitors permitted into the building for emergency and/or essential matters will continue to:
• Complete a health screening and have their temperature taken prior to entry.
• Wear a mask while in the building.
• Adhere to six-foot social distancing markers in lobbies, hallways, and courtrooms.
• Be prepared to wait outside, or in an alternate area, as advised by staff if common areas are too crowded until building occupancy is down and social distancing can be maintained safely.
• Utilize hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes to cleanse hands and public areas for their protection.
All hearings that are not emergencies, essential, previously approved by judges, or where litigants have the right to be present will be conducted remotely via Zoom or teleconference as directed. It is preferred that filings be mailed, faxed, or emailed to the courthouse whenever possible. There is also a new drop box for non-emergency filings as you enter the courthouse. Please feel free to contact the correct court using the following information for more details on how to submit a filing electronically or if you require assistance with a remote hearing. Court sessions will continue to be live streamed via YouTube to provide public access. Please visit countyofnewaygo.com to find the Departments tab where the Courts tab is located.
Please see the complete Local Administrative Order for Phase 2 for more complete details or contact the appropriate court using the information below:
Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: (231) 689-7251
Main Phone: (231) 689-7252
Fax: (231) 689-7015
Phone: (231) 689-7228
Main Phone: (231) 689-7257
Fax (231) 689-7258
Phone: (231) 689-7274
Main: (231) 689-7270
Fax: (231) 689-7276
Safety for the public and those working in the courthouse are of the utmost concern to the courts. We remain fully staffed within the courthouse at this time to assist you. We look forward to being able to expand access again soon.
Hon. Robert D. Springstead
Circuit Court Judge
Newaygo County Trial Courts
Winter storms causing delays in vaccine shipments
LANSING, MICH. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has been notified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that due to ongoing winter storm conditions in Kentucky and Tennessee, vaccine shipments this week continue to be delayed.
“We ask that Michiganders confirm their appointments prior to traveling and to have patience as providers seek to reschedule any appointments,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “Unfortunately, distribution of the vaccine in this circumstance is simply out of our control. Vaccine providers across the state are working hard to get 70% of Michiganders age 16 and older vaccinated with the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as possible.”
Late yesterday, CDC provided an update about COVID-19 vaccine shipments in light of the ongoing winter storm conditions this week. This challenge is affecting vaccine shipments across the country.
Newaygo County clinics move to new location, combine days
From our friends at DHD#10:
February 16, 2021 – District Health Department #10 (DHD#10) announces that Newaygo County COVID-19 vaccine appointments scheduled for this Friday, February 19 and Saturday, February 20 at DHD#10 in White Cloud will now all take place on Saturday, February 20 at NCRESA (Newaygo County Regional Education Service Agency) located at 4747 W. 48th Street in Fremont.
Individuals impacted by the change initially received their first dose at DHD#10’s White Cloud office on January 22 and 23 and were scheduled to receive their second dose on February 19 and 20. Due to over 500 people scheduled those two days, DHD#10 was able to secure a larger facility and obtain assistance from the National Guard to host one large vaccine clinic.
“Similar to the COVID-19 testing clinics we held this summer with the help of the National Guard, the state has contracted with them again to assist us with larger vaccine clinics,” stated Kevin Hughes, Health Officer for DHD#10. “Having the National Guard there allows us to accommodate more people and helps our clinics run more efficiently.”
If you are scheduled to receive your second dose at DHD#10’s White Cloud office on February 19 or 20, please go to NCRESA in Fremont on Saturday, February 20 at the same time you were initially scheduled to receive your COVID-19 vaccine. This vaccine clinic is by appointment only – please no walk-ins.
We ask that you refrain from calling the health department to ask about scheduling the vaccine. For questions, email us at email@example.com. Please go to our website at www.dhd10.org/coronovirus for more information. If you haven’t already, sign up for our Public Health Alert at www.dhd10.org/subscribe to stay informed.
Put yourself in the driver’s seat of your next career move
BIG RAPIDS – Do you need assistance building your resume or searching for work, but don’t feel comfortable seeking assistance during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic?
Michigan Works! West Central has a solution to meet your needs and keep you safe.
All Michigan Works! West Central service centers are now offering safe and sanitized curbside services to help you reassess your career goals, as well as help you navigate the variety of programs and services they offer. The new “Michigan Works! on Your Side, ... Curbside” program allows their knowledgeable staff to help you determine which program or service fits your situation, all from the comfort and safety of your car.
“Although COVID-19 vaccines are being rolled out in great numbers, we still need to take precautions to make sure our clients are safe and feel safe when seeking our services,” said Shelly Keene, executive director of Michigan Works! West Central. “The safety of our clients and staff is paramount. This new service allows our clients to take steps to make their next career move in a safe and sanitized environment.”
Depending on your needs, Michigan Works! West Central can offer contactless assistance and information regarding its programs with pre-made information bags. They can also provide sanitized use of a tablet device while working with a Talent Specialist to suit your individual career needs, including building your resume, searching through open job listings and more.
Curbside appointments are available from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at all Michigan Works! West Central service centers, which are located in Baldwin, Big Rapids, Ludington, Newaygo, Reed City and Shelby. For more information about the “Michigan Works! on Your Side, … Curbside” program and to schedule your appointment, visit www.michworkswc.org/curbside.
Michigan Works! West Central also has upgraded Wi-Fi accessibility in all of its service center parking lots. Clients are free to park their car in the lot to use their reliable internet service to advance their career.
“Job seekers and those who are employed are able to use our reliable internet to search through job listings, send work emails, take part in a video conference and more from the safety and security of their car,” said Jonathan Eppley, communication and marketing manager for Michigan Works! West Central. “Until life returns to normal, our team is continuously thinking of creative ways to serve both employers and job seekers. Those who may not have reliable internet service at home, are welcome to use ours to make their next career move.”
Put yourself in the driver's seat of your next career move! Contact Michigan Works! West Central today to schedule your appointment with their “Michigan Works! on Your Side, ... Curbside” service! You Drive Up, West Central Delivers!
An Economic News Update From The Right Place
By Julie Burrell, Business Development Manager, Newaygo County
Economic development is sometimes hard to describe, but in a nutshell… We thrive on relationships, we connect businesses to resources, we focus on collaboration, and we are here to ensure our local employers succeed. This column is designed to share the timely information our community needs to continue being a place where people and businesses can prosper.
Talent Growth & Attraction
While unemployment in Newaygo County crept up slightly to 5.3% according to recent data, finding new talent continues to be a struggle. This challenge provides employers with a unique opportunity – to focus on upskilling current staff. One of the ways they can do this is through The Fremont Area Community Foundation’s Adult Scholarships program, which is open for applications year-round. These scholarships are available for undergrad study, certifications, credentials, and apprenticeship programs. Additionally, the recently announced Michigan Reconnect program pays the cost of tuition for eligible adults pursuing an associate degree or skills certificate.
Looking for more tools in attracting workforce to Newaygo County? Check out this great video put together by the team at The Right Place, highlighting what it’s like to live and work in beautiful West Michigan.
For those looking for their next opportunity or hire, Michigan Works! West Central is hosting two virtual job fairs this month! This one is specific to employers in their territory, including Newaygo County. Additionally, they have partnered with MDARD to host an Ag/Food Processing specific job fair on March 25.
The Newaygo County Career Tech Center is launching a Career EXPLORATION Fair, March 11th. If your business hires people, we need your participation! This virtual event is all about exposing local students to career possibilities close to home. Learn more and register here.
If you are suffering through an unstable connection on your daily Zooms, here is an opportunity for local business leaders to voice frustrations with the Connecting Michigan Taskforce (CMIT) and Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Register to join the Feb 26, 11 am session or the March 2, 11am session.
Business Retention, Expansion, and Attraction
Looking for ways to diversify your customer base? Meijer is seeking local products to offer in their stores across the country. If your company offers grocery, produce, deli, bakery, baby, beauty, or personal and wellness care items, you are encouraged to create a profile on RangeMe through this link prior to Feb 19th. Interested in securing government contracts? Check out this webinar on March 3 with the Small Business Development Center.
The Newaygo County Tourism Council has recently launched a robust $50,000 marketing campaign, and they are kicking it off with the best ways to do winter in Newaygo County. Interested in getting in front of the 48,000 plus website visitors? Contact them to get your business a front-row seat.
Wondering what else is going on in the world of economic development? The Newaygo County Economic Development Advisory Committee invites you to join us for the Newaygo County Economic Outlook via Zoom on Feb 23. Register here.
Do you or someone you know need help filing taxes? Thanks to a connection made at a United Way of The Lakeshore – Newaygo County meeting, Gerber Federal Credit Union just announced a partnership with Goodwill Industries. Learn more here
Gilchrist rips Shirkey for ‘fanning the flames’
Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist called out Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey after a Wednesday encounter on the Senate floor today.
Shirkey was captured on a hot mic on the Senate floor today telling Gilchrist that he does not take back any of the remarks he has made recently.
In addition to mentioning how he had ‘spanked’ the Governor on the budget Shirkey referenced the January 6th riots thusly:
"That wasn't Trump people," he said in a video posted to YouTube by one of the Hillsdale County GOP members. "That's been a hoax from day one, that was all pre-arranged,"
On Tuesday the Top Dog in the Michigan Senate backed off these statements.
“I said some things in a videoed conversation that are not fitting for the role I am privileged to serve. I own that. I have many flaws. Being passionate coupled with an occasional lapse in restraint of tongue are at least two of them. I regret the words I chose, and I apologize for my insensitive comments.”
Then a day later came these words to Gilchrist.
“I frankly don’t take back any of the points I was trying to make. Some of the words I chose I do regret,” adding: “I don’t back down very easily.”
In a press release received today Gilchrist responded:
“The Senate Majority Leader has chosen to spend his time and energy fanning the flames of dangerous conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and the January 6 insurrection in Washington, alongside aggressive, sexist threats toward the governor. This behavior is beneath the office he was elected to and the standard of decency the people of our state deserve.
“While the Senate Majority Leader made a half-hearted attempt to address his inexcusable language and behavior last night, and an even weaker attempt during a prayer in today’s Senate session, his comments toward me on the Senate floor this morning tell a different story. It is clear that his so-called apology was not heartfelt, nor did it come from a place of humility and understanding. Rather, it was an empty gesture made for political expediency, and one that the people of Michigan can see right through. “
It seems the drama in Lansing, much like the perpetual partisanship, not only never ends…
It rarely even pauses.
Nearly 1200 second doses delivered last week
February 8, 2021 – District Health Department #10 (DHD#10) administered 8,469 COVID-19 vaccines last week, bringing the total number of vaccines administered to 21,993 including first and second doses.
Vaccine totals for Week of 2/1/21-2/6/21
COUNTY FIRST DOSE SECOND DOSE WEEKLY TOTAL RUNNING TOTAL
Crawford 1 515 516 1,309
Kalkaska 7 530 537 1,421
Lake 2 257 259 724
Manistee 52 1,150 1,202 3,274
Mason 8 1,102 1,110 3,135
Mecosta 3 1,131 1,134 2,913
Missaukee 4 389 393 1,017
Newaygo 2 1,184 1,186 3,001
Oceana 1 896 897 2,228
Wexford 52 1,183 1,235 2,971
TOTAL 132 8,337 8,469 21,9
“We are very pleased with the progress made in getting our communities vaccinated with the allotted vaccine supplies we’ve been given,” stated Kevin Hughes, Health Officer for DHD#10. “Looking ahead, we are hoping vaccine supplies increase to allow for larger mass vaccination site clinics. In anticipation of this, we have begun initial planning for larger clinics and will share more information as the process moves forward.”
This week, DHD#10 is hosting primarily first-dose and some second-dose clinics for the priority groups throughout our ten-county jurisdiction.
Vaccine clinics are by appointment only – please no walk-ins. If people do not show up for their scheduled appointments, DHD#10 has a stand-by list made up of people on our waiting lists to call in so that no vaccine goes to waste.
If you are unable to make your scheduled appointment, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know. You will be placed back on the waiting list and will be contacted as soon as we can get you rescheduled.
We ask that you refrain from calling the health department to ask about scheduling the vaccine. Please go to our website at www.dhd10.org/coronovirus for more information.
If you haven’t already, sign up for our Public Health Alert at www.dhd10.org/subscribe to stay informed.
DHD#10 COVID Vaccine clinics still scheduled despite weather
February 4, 2021 – District Health Department #10 (DHD#10) announces we will still be hosting vaccine clinics for those with appointments on Friday and Saturday despite the chance for inclement weather.
If you have an appointment scheduled to receive your vaccine at one of our DHD#10 offices, please take your time getting there and drive safely. It's okay if you're late. We will hold your vaccine for you during our clinic hours on the day you are scheduled.
If you are unable to make your scheduled appointment, please email us at email@example.com to let us know. You will be placed back on the waiting list and we will contact you via phone, text, or email when we can get you rescheduled. We will do our best to get you rescheduled as soon as possible.
Good news for anyone who’s been dreaming about a career as a Michigan conservation officer: The DNR is accepting applications for its upcoming conservation officer academy, which starts this spring.
This year’s academy offers a shortened “hybrid” option for anyone currently certified or certifiable by the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and meeting DNR hiring requirements. Applicants who do not meet the existing MCOLES license requirements will be eligible for a basic training academy. Everyone who successfully completes the academy will graduate in 2021.
F/Lt. Jason Wicklund, with the DNR Law Enforcement Division, said applicants don’t need previous law enforcement, fishing or hunting experience or a college degree, but these do help.
“We simply ask for a great attitude and willingness to learn,” Wicklund said. “Our instructors are the best at what they do, and we’ll provide recruits everything they need to succeed.”
Read the full hiring announcement and get details on the hiring process and eligibility requirements at Michigan.gov/ConservationOfficers or contact a local recruiter.
Questions? Contact: F/Lt. Jason Wicklund at WicklundJ@Michigan.gov.
Stats beginning to show progress in COVID battle
DHD#10 continues to ramp up vaccinations throughout the ten-county region while seeing the number of cases and hospitalizations taking a turn in the right direction.
The past 6 weeks (12/13/2020- 1/23/2021) saw 2400 cases compared to nearly 5296 in the previous 6-week period. In the first three weeks since the beginning of the year the average number of daily cases has tumbled from 67.7 per day to 56.7 per day in the second week and a drop to 40.1.this past week.
Gerber Memorial, averaging 4 COVID beds a day the past 6 weeks, had 2 as of Tuesday.
1543 vaccinations have been given thus far by DHD#10 in Newaygo County, part of 2750 overall doses that have made their way into NC arms. Region-wide there have been 20,783 inoculations with DHD#10 delivering 11,844 of those shots.
The Health Department continues to ask for patience from those still striving to schedule an appointment and encourages all to sign up for their Public Health Alert at www.dhd10.org/subscribe to stay informed.
The Gerber Foundation Scholarship Application Portal is open!
The Gerber Foundation post-secondary education scholarship online application portal is open for high school students graduating in May 2021. Students may initiate their application at https://gerberfoundation.smartsimple.com. The deadline for application is February 28, 2021 at 4 pm.
Daniel Gerber, Sr. Medallion and Merit Scholarships are available for all high school seniors in Newaygo County, including home school students. Newaygo County Career Technical Center scholarships are available for students graduating from one of 14 career tech programs. Students may apply for only one of the available scholarships.
Students from Holton HS, Muskegon HS, and Ravenna HS in Muskegon County and Hart HS, Pentwater HS, Shelby HS, and Walkerville HS in Oceana County with a GPA between 2.00-3.70 may apply for the Merit Scholarship.
The Foundation will award up to $350,000 in scholarships in 2021.
Information about each scholarship can be found on the Foundation’s website at www.gerberfoundation.org.
For questions, please contact the Gerber Foundation at 231.924.3175 or
Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial to offer vaccines this Tuesday, Thursday
Appointments required to manage limited vaccine supply
FREMONT, Mich., Jan. 25, 2021 – In response to the State of Michigan expanding eligibility for vaccination, Spectrum Health will begin vaccinating adults age 65 and over, and certain essential workers.
Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial will offer vaccines by appointment on Tuesday, Jan. 26, and Thursday, Jan. 28. When an appointment is scheduled, the individual will receive information on location and time. Availability will depend on supplies of vaccines.
To find out more about scheduling a vaccination, go to
www.spectrumhealth.org/vaccine. Once at the page, scroll down to “COVID-19 vaccine scheduling” for step-by-step directions. Community members are also encouraged to download the Spectrum Health app and sign up for a MyChart account, which is a key step in the scheduling process for a vaccination appointment.
For those who are eligible for a vaccine and unable to use MyChart to complete their registration, call 833.755.0696.
As more vaccines become available, additional clinics will be announced.
Spectrum Health is working with community partners and area health departments to plan additional vaccine sites across the region in the coming weeks—including clinics for under-represented communities—in an effort to make the vaccine as accessible as possible for all individuals.
Vaccine distribution is dependent on vaccine supply, which varies from week-to-week. Scheduling will take place as Spectrum Health receives vaccine doses. As of Monday, Spectrum Health has administered more than 49,000 vaccines.
Per the State of Michigan, essential workers, including teachers and others, should work through their employers to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination.
No details given; Elizabeth Hertel named Director
As Director of the Department of Health and Human Services Robert Gordon has been the spokesperson for the epidemic orders issued by MDHHS.
Today at the Governor’s press conference announcing, among other items, the return to indoor dining on February 1st and a continuation of the pause on high school contact sports he did not appear at the podium.
Mid-afternoon Gordon tweeted “Today, I am resigning from the Whitmer Administration. It's been an honor to serve alongside wonderful colleagues. I look forward to the next chapter.”
He offered no details as to the reasons for his departure.
To replace him Gretchen Whitmer appointed Elizabeth Hertel as Director.
Hertel joined the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) in 2013 as the senior assistant for Policy and Planning, and in February 2014, was appointed director of Policy and Planning. Following the merger of the Departments of Community Health and Human Services into MDHHS in 2015, Hertel served as senior deputy director for Policy, Planning and Legislative Services. In October 2016, she left that position to serve as director of Michigan Advocacy for Trinity Health and returned to MDHHS and her current position in February 2019. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Grand Valley State University and an MBA at Michigan State University.
Contact sports (including h.s. basketball, wrestling), water parks, still on pause; Concessions, larger gatherings get green light.
Lansing, January 22- The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) released its next epidemic order today, which goes into effect on Monday, Feb. 1. The order will allow for indoor dining at restaurants with certain requirements; concessions at casinos, movie theaters and stadiums; personal services requiring mask removal; and non-residential gatherings of up to 10 people from two households. The new order will last three weeks, until Sunday, Feb. 21.
Restaurants and bars will be allowed to reopen at 25% capacity with up to 100 people. Tables must be six feet apart with no more than six people per table. Outdoor tents with four sides are permitted under these same rules. Bars and restaurants must close by 10 p.m. Additionally, contact information must be collected from diners for contact tracing purposes.
“The pause has worked. The efforts we have made together to protect our families, frontline workers and hospitals have dramatically reduced cases and we have saved lives. Now, we are confident that starting February 1, restaurants can resume indoor dining with safety measures in place,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Some smaller venues however face challenges when it comes to the limits.
“Well at 25% it doesn’t pay me to open the doors. I would still be losing money, so I guess I have to wait,” said Moon Dance Cafe owner Tina Drum. “It’s very unfortunate. I can ask my waitresses to come back to work but they would be making less money at work than they would on unemployment so it just doesn’t make sense. Very disappointed.
“It would be different If it were spring and summer and we could use our patio then we could do it but it just doesn’t make sense in February.”
“We are pleased to see the improvements in case rates, hospitalizations and percent positivity that have allowed us to reopen more activities,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. “However, we must remain vigilant, especially since we now have a new more easily transmitted variant of this virus present in our state. This is not the time to let our guard down and Michiganders should minimize their risk by avoiding gatherings, wearing masks properly, social distancing and making a plan to get their vaccine when it is their turn.”
MDHHS had been closely monitoring three metrics for stabilization or declines over the past several weeks. Michigan continues to see improvements in these metrics which has allowed for additional relaxing of protocols and reopening of activities.
In recent days: