Indoor Dining to Resume Across State on Feb. 1

Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday the indoor dining can resume across the state beginning on Monday, Feb. 1.

Gathering GuidelinesThe new MDHHS epidemic orders go into effect on Feb. 1 and will allow for indoor dining at restaurants with certain requirements and concessions at casinos, movie theaters and stadiums. The order also permits non-residential gatherings of up to 10 people from two households.

The new epidemic orders will last until Sunday, Feb. 21.

“The pause has worked. The efforts we have made together to protect our families, frontline workers and hospitals have dramatically reduced cases and we have saved lives. Now, we are confident that starting February 1, restaurants can resume indoor dining with safety measures in place,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “Michigan continues to be a national leader in fighting this virus, and we must continue working to keep it that way. One of the most important things Michiganders can do is to make a plan to get the safe and effective vaccine when it’s available to you. And as always, mask up and maintain six feet of social distancing. We will end this pandemic together.”

Restaurants and bars will be allowed to reopen at 25% capacity with up to 100 people. Tables must be six feet apart with no more than six people per table. Outdoor tents with four sides are permitted under these same rules. Bars and restaurants must close by 10 p.m. Additionally, contact information must be collected from diners for contact tracing purposes.

“We welcome the governor’s decision to reopen restaurant dining on February 1 as good, if overdue news,” said Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association (MRLA) President & CEO Justin Winslow in a statement. “It is now time for this administration to move aggressively towards a more comprehensive reintegration strategy, which includes prioritizing vaccination for the broader hospitality industry and establishing clear metrics for phased reopening to 100 percent capacity of indoor dining. The hospitality industry and its sizable workforce has suffered far worse than its peers from this pandemic, losing nearly 3,000 restaurants and employing 200,000 fewer workers than a year prior. It also stands to gain the most from a proficient and expedited vaccination schedule, which is why we contend that there is no more important step the governor can take to get Michigan’s economy back on track than restoring public confidence in Michiganders ability to safely dine and travel.”
Restaurant Guidelines

The MDHSS has been following three metrics for stabilization or declines over the past several weeks. Michigan continue to see improvements in these metrics which has allowed for additional relaxing of protocols and reopening of activities.

• Hospital capacity dedicated to COVID-19 patients has been in seven-week decline, with current capacity at 9.9% for beds with COVID-19 patients. Peaked at 19.6% on Tuesday, Dec. 4.
• Overall case rates: Currently at 225 cases per million. Peaked at 740 cases per million on Saturday, Nov. 14, plateaued after a decline to 239 on Friday, Dec. 25 and has been in decline for 11 days.
• Positivity rate: currently at 6.8% and declining.

“Today’s announcement is possible because of our progress over the last two months,” said Robert Gordon, MDHHS director. “Even so, the science is clear that unmasked, indoor activities like dining and drinking are still a source of high risk around COVID-19. The safest course remains to support your favorite restaurant with carryout, delivery or outdoor dining. If individuals choose to eat out, there are two things they can do to make it much safer: go out only with members of their own household and choose a restaurant participating in the MI COVID-19 Safer Dining certification program.”

The epidemic order continues to temporarily pause indoor contact sports and other venues and activities where participants have close physical contacts and are not consistently masked, like water parks. However, as of Jan. 22, stadiums can allow up to 500 people at venues that seat over 10,000 people and stadiums that seat less than 10,000 are allowed to be at 20% capacity, up to 250 people. This will allow for additional attendance at high school football finals being hosted this weekend.

Categories: Coronavirus