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Schools, restaurant groups react to new COVID restrictions beginning Wednesday

Posted at 6:36 AM, Nov 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-16 06:36:21-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Reaction continues to come in following the state's new COVID restrictions that go into effect Wednesday morning and will last for at least three weeks.

During these three weeks, which are between Nov. 18 and Dec. 8, the state will mandate that these operations be closed:

  • in-person learning at high schools, colleges and universities
  • theaters, stadiums and arenas
  • All who are able to work from home will be required to do just that
  • dine-in restaurants and bars
  • organized sports, except professional sports
  • bowling centers, ice skating, indoor water parks
  • bingo halls, casinos, arcades
  • group fitness classes

We asked Scott Ellis, executive director of the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association about whether or not some of these businesses will survive another shutdown.

"We're an industry that's been hurt or been devastated since March," Ellis said. "We were shut down from March to June, and (the industry) has been totally devastated by that. And then we've been open back at 50 percent."

"This industry is one that just continually gets hit. We cannot keep surviving, and we are now getting it again. And so the fear among our members--anybody in the industry--is just beyond what it's ever been after the announcement last night."

We also spoke to Superintendent of Godfrey-Lee Public Schools, Kevin Polston, about the impact the closure of high schools will have on students. Polston says the district has equipment ready to make sure all students have access to internet and computers for remote learning.

"We were fortunate to have the resources to make sure that each of our children have access to Chromebooks," he said. "We've also made sure that our students have access to internet if needed."

"Our priority is to keep our elementary students in person because we know that especially younger students like kindergarten first grade learning remotely as a challenge and best for them," Polston said. "We know the experience is better in person, but also the essential services that kids get at school, especially again, our special education students that need the therapies such as speech and language or physical therapy or occupational therapy to make sure that they are well served in school and again."

There will be several areas that will remain open, according to the state:

  • Hair salons, barber shops & other personal services
  • Gyms and pools for individual exercise
  • Retail stores
  • Indoor gatherings limited to two households & 10 people
  • Small outdoor gatherings limited to 25 people
  • Preschool through 8th grade
  • Childcare
  • Public transit
  • Manufacturing, construction, other work impossible to do remotely.

In the last five days, between Nov. 9 and 13, there were 35,009 cases of COVID-19, and the daily record was broken three times.

Also, more than one fourth – about 27% – of the total cases since the pandemic began have come since the beginning of November.