New MDHHS order to allow 50% capacity in restaurants starting Friday

Posted at 1:01 PM, Mar 02, 2021

LANSING, Mich. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer plans to relax COVID-19 restrictions for restaurants and businesses this Friday.

In a press conference last week, the governor hinted towards relaxing restrictions as Michigan's COVID-19 cases trend downward, despite concerns about virus variants. As of Monday, the state identified 314 cases of the B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant across 19 counties.

“As we continue our vaccine rollout and make steady progress against the virus, we are taking additional incremental steps to re-engage to ensure we are protecting our families and frontline workers and saving lives,” said Whitmer in a statement to FOX 17. “Michigan is a national leader in the fight against COVID-19, and our fact-based, data-driven approach will help our state rebuild our economy and resume normal day-to-day activities. As always, mask up, maintain social distancing, and wash your hands. We all have a personal responsibility to slow the spread of the virus so we can end this pandemic together. One of the most important things Michiganders can do is make a plan to get the safe and effective vaccine when it’s available to you.”

Michigan is now at 95 cases per million – this number has been declining over the past six weeks. Additionally, the percent positivity rate, now at 3.5%, continues to trend downward as well.

A new public health order is expected to go into effect Friday. Restaurants and bars can have 50% indoor dining capacity, up to 100 people. A curfew is still in effect, but will now be enforced at 11 p.m. rather than 10 p.m.

Retail shops will also be allowed to operate at 50% indoor capacity, compared to 30%. Indoor private residential gatherings are capped at 15 people from three different households. Indoor gatherings that aren't at a private residence, like city council meetings and public events, are capped at 25 people.

Venues like movie theatres and bowling alleys can also increase capacity to 50%. Gyms will also be allowed to operate at 30% capacity, with workout machines remaining six feet apart.

Whitmer and Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, will officially unveil the new order during a briefing Tuesday at 2 p.m. You can watch that live on FOX 17.

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