WATCH: Whitmer loosens pandemic restrictions, gives COVID-19 update

gretchen whitmer press conference.jpg
Posted at 9:55 AM, Mar 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-02 14:24:39-05

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will give her latest update on the state's COVID-19 response Tuesday afternoon.

The 2 p.m. news conference highlighted the new health order that will expand capacity at restaurants to 50% starting this Friday.

Visitation at nursing homes will also be allowed under the new guidelines, as long as family members receive a negative COVID-19 test beforehand.

"All of these reengagements will enable Michiganders to enjoy more of life's simplest pleasures that have been disrupted," Whitmer said.

Watch the news conference:

However, the governor reiterated the need to continue wearing a mask, washing hands and social distancing.

A new work group under the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity will assess and make recommendations for safely reengaging workplaces that have been remote during the pandemic.

Whitmer was joined by Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, as well as MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel.

Khaldun says the test positivity rate in the state was 3.7 percent over the past week.

Meanwhile, hospital capacity dedicated to coronavirus cases is now at 3.9 percent.

Case rates are now at 91.2 cases per million people, which is about the same as where the state was at the beginning of October.

Outbreaks have mostly been at K-12 schools, followed by manufacturing and construction sites and long-term care facilities.

In addition, health officials are still concerned about the B.1.1.7 variant.

While about two-thirds of the cases of the variant are at correctional facilities, there are other cases that officials don't know where individuals got sick from.

The changes to the order go into effect March 5 and are scheduled to last until April 19.

The full list of changes includes:

  • Indoor non-residential gatherings where people interact across households are permitted up to 25 people, allowing public meetings and other small indoor gatherings to resume.
  • Restaurants and bars are allowed to be at 50% capacity up to 100 people. Tables must be six feet apart with no more than six people per table. There is now an 11 p.m. curfew.
  • Outdoor non-residential gatherings where people interact across households are permitted up to 300, allowing larger outdoor events to resume.
  • Indoor entertainment venues are allowed to be at 50% capacity, up to 300 people.
  • Exercise facilities are allowed to be at 30% capacity with restrictions on distancing and mask requirements.
  • Retail is allowed to be at 50% capacity.
  • Casinos are allowed to be at 30% capacity.
  • Indoor stadiums and arenas are allowed have 375 if seating capacity is under 10,000; 750 if seating capacity is over 10,000.
  • Outdoor entertainment and recreational facilities may host up to 1,000 patrons.
  • Indoor residential gatherings are now limited to 15 people from three households, while outdoor residential gatherings can include up to 50 people.