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.
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