Gov. Whitmer Urges Suspension of In-Person Learning, Youth Sports, Indoor Dining
As the state continues to see a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, Governor Gretchen Whitmer is calling for a halt on indoor dining, in-person high school learning and youth sports for two weeks.
Governor Whitmer did not announce new restrictions Friday during a press conference, but is instead asking for voluntary compliance.
“Administering more than five million doses of the safe and effective COVID vaccine in under four months is a big deal, but we’ve still got a lot more work to do,” said Governor Whitmer in a release. “Right now our numbers are alarming, and we all have a role to play to get our state moving in the right direction again. That’s why I’m renewing my call on the federal government to surge additional vaccines to our state. And it’s why I’m urging high schools and youth sports to voluntarily suspend in-person activities for the next two weeks. This is a team effort. It’s on all of us to do our part by masking up and getting vaccinated to protect ourselves and our families, so we can get back to normal. Let’s get it done.”
Whitmer also announced Friday that Michigan will hit more than five million COVID-19 vaccinations by the end of the day Friday.
Governor Whitmer is urging youth sports for both school-sponsored and non-school sponsored teams to suspend in-person activities, like games and practices, for the next two weeks. Currently, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services requires testing for youth sports between the ages of 13-19, which includes weekly testing protocols for athletes and teams.
“As a parent and former student-athlete myself, I understand how important athletics are to our children’s physical and mental health. However, parents and athletes need to understand the risk involved with youth sports if they choose to participate,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “We’ve seen that the younger population has played a significant role in transmission during this most recent spike. I urge youth sports organizers to pause in-person activities for the next couple weeks, and as always, mask up, wash your hands, social distance and get your safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you are able.”
On Thursday, Michigan health officials reported 7,819 new cases of the coronavirus and 73 additional COVID-19 deaths.
“Our recent COVID case numbers are the highest in the nation, and hospitalizations have climbed significantly in the last month. Michigan educators, students, and families have risen to the challenge over the past year, and I am confident they will continue to do what is needed to help save lives as we keep fighting the pandemic,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “I support the recommendations of the governor. I urge schools to contribute the next two weeks toward the common good of our state and the health of our residents.”
A statement from Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association (MRLA) President & CEO Justin Winslow reads:
“While we support and echo the governor’s call for a surge of vaccines to be prioritized for Michigan, we believe her suggested recommendation around indoor dining is misguided and doesn’t track with available data.
Restaurant operators have done an extraordinary job of maintaining a safe and sanitized environment for guests and employees alike since reopening in February and it shows in the data. While Michigan is experiencing an unfortunate surge that has fashioned nearly 1,000 new and ongoing COVID-19 outbreak investigations, an insignificant 0.3% of those investigations involved restaurant patrons.
We trust our operators to continue to provide a safe environment indoors or out in the coming weeks and we trust Michiganders to do their part to act responsibly and respectfully to help us all achieve that outcome. In accordance with CDC guidance, those fully vaccinated – a number already approaching 40 percent of the population – can safely dine indoors if they wear a well-fitted mask and maintain physical distance (at least 6 feet).
As we approach a herd immunity in Michigan that will transform the hospitality industry for the better, it is incumbent on us all to act with common sense and proper precaution. But the continued scapegoating of the restaurant industry without proof or reliable data won’t make it come any sooner.”