Governor Whitmer today signed an Executive Order closing indoor service at bars throughout most of lower Michigan. Regions 6 and 8, which include the Upper Peninsula and much of northern Michigan, are excluded from the order, and bars statewide can continue to serve outdoors. The governor also signed a package of bills allowing cocktails-to-go at bars and restaurants to help these businesses serve more Michiganders during this time.
As bars have reopened for indoor service across the country, some have been linked to a growing number of large outbreaks. In Michigan, for example, health officials in Ingham County have linked 107 confirmed COVID-19 cases to an outbreak in a single bar in East Lansing. Similar super-spreader events have been documented in bars in Florida, Louisiana, Texas and elsewhere.
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. Traditional bars, nightclubs, and strip clubs will have to end indoor service.
“Bars will not have to close down completely, but may still offer outdoor seating and use creative methods like cocktails-to-go in hopes that we can bring our numbers down,” said the Governor.. “I am hopeful providing options for cocktails-to-go and expanded social districts will ensure these businesses can remain open and Michiganders can safely and responsibly enjoy their summer outdoors.”