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Whitmer relaxes COVID-19 restrictions in Michigan, increases capacity for restaurants & businesses

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Posted at 2:09 PM, Mar 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-02 18:21:28-05

(WXYZ) — Governor Gretchen Whitmer has released COVID-19 restrictions for restaurants and businesses starting this Friday.

Related: Read the latest epidemic order easing COVID-19 restrictions in Michigan

In a press conference on Tuesday, Whitmer said 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.

“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,” Whitmer said in a release.

“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.”

Currently, the state has identified 314 cases of the B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant across 19 counties.

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.

Another major portion of the eased restrictions is that family members will be able to visit relatives in nursing homes after they received a negative COVID-19 test.

“More than 2 million doses of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine have been administered and a third vaccine will soon be arriving here in Michigan to help us end the pandemic in our state,” MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel added in a release. “We continue to monitor the data closely, and based on current trends we are taking another step toward normalcy. We urge Michiganders to continue doing what works and wearing a mask, washing their hands and avoiding crowds.”

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey released this statement after the announcement.

“Today’s announcement by Gov. Whitmer is woefully inadequate, ensures we remain completely out of step regionally and nationally, and will drive more Michiganders out of their jobs and out of our state," Shirkey said. "The governor continues to claim her decisions are based on data and science, but she refuses to actually share the data or science she’s using. Without transparency, her orders look less like science and more like control. Michiganders deserve better.”

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

Visit our The Rebound Detroit, a place where we are working to help people impacted financially from the coronavirus. We have all the information on everything available to help you through this crisis and how to access it.