WATCH: State issues 3-week order with new COVID-19 restrictions

Posted at 2:45 PM, Nov 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-16 00:05:39-05

LANSING, Mich. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, and MDHHS Director Robert Gordon will provide an update regarding COVID-19 Sunday evening, announcing a three-week order to limit indoor social gatherings and other group activities.

It will take effect Wednesday at 12:01 a.m.

Indoor residential gatherings will be limited to two households at a time, according to a news release.

Bars and restaurants will close for indoor dining.

Gyms will remain open for individual exercise. Group exercise will not be permitted.

Casinos and movie theaters will also close.

Professional and college sports meeting "extraordinary standards for risk mitigation" may continue without spectators; however all other organized sports must stop.

Colleges and high schools may proceed with remote learning, but must end in-person classes.

“In the spring, we listened to public health experts, stomped the curve and saved thousands of lives together. Now, we must channel that same energy and join forces again to protect our families, frontline workers and small businesses," Whitmer said. “Right now, there are thousands of cases a day and hundreds of deaths a week in Michigan, and the number is growing. If we don’t act now, thousands more will die, and our hospitals will continue to be overwhelmed. We can get through this together by listening to health experts once again and taking action right now to slow the spread of this deadly virus."

COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the state, as just yesterday Michigan surpassed 250,000 positive coronavirus tests since March.

“Indoor gatherings are the greatest source of spread, and sharply limiting them is our focus,” MDHHS Director Robert Gordon said. “The order is targeted and temporary, but a terrible loss of life will be forever unless we act. By coming together today, we can save thousands of lives.”

The new order is not a blanket stay-at-home order like the one Michiganders say in the spring.

The order leaves open work that cannot be performed from home, including for manufacturing, construction and health occupations.

Outdoor gatherings, outdoor dining and parks remain open.

Individualized activities with distancing and face masks are still allowed: retail shopping; public transit; restaurant takeout; personal-care services such as haircuts, by appointment; and individualized exercise at a gym, with extra spacing between machines.

"By the end of these three weeks, if we have all done our part, we will be in a much better place," Gordon said. "Hope is on the horizon."

Officials said they will continue to evaluate the situation and determine next steps as such.

MDHHS Pause to Save Lives COVID-19 infographic November 15, 2020

Officials urge those who choose to meet with anyone outside their household to form "social pods."

Pods should be kept to under 10 people.

In addition, members should:

- Agree upfront exactly who is in the pod.
- Discuss how vulnerable to COVID members of the pod are.
- Agree on how all members of the pod will limit risk.
- Pledge to be truthful to one another about activities.
- Stay outdoors as much as possible, even within the pod.
- Communicate immediately if anyone has symptoms for exposure to COVID-19.

Members of pods should not:

- Socialize with other people outside the pod.
- Pod with more than 10 people or two households.
- Be part of more than one pod or social circle.
- Include people in the pod who have engaged in risky behaviors.
- Stop following public health guidance.
- Permit members of a household to be in different pods.
- Engage in activity that has not been agreed upon within the pod, such as travel.
- Stay in a pod if others are engaging in unsafe behavior.

Read the full order here.

Watch the press conference: