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'It's paramount everybody celebrate and root for their teams safely.' Ann Arbor mayor on COVID-19 concerns surrounding the big game

Big House at night
Posted at 6:44 PM, Oct 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-30 20:32:03-04

(WXYZ) — This weekend features the annual rivalry game between Michigan and Michigan State and this year it's at the Big House.

With COVID-19 surging, the public will not be allowed to gather, either in the stadium or for the usual tailgating outside. A crackdown is also in place on parties.

We're being joined to talk about it on our 7 UpFront segment by Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor.

"We're all very excited, of course, about the football game," Taylor says. "But it's paramount everybody celebrate and root for their teams safely. The existence of the game here in town doesn't change the fact that we have public health rules that we are obligated to keep our outdoor gatherings down to 25 and our indoor gatherings are down to ten. Certainly, Ann Arbor PD, along with University DPS and everyone else are going to make sure people understand the rules and it's in everybody's interest, everybody's safety that we follow them."

He says it will be a team effort to keep everyone safe.

"One of the good things here, about Washtenaw County, is that all our governmental leaders, whether it's Washtenaw County Public Health, Washtenaw County Board and Commission, Ann Arbor City Council, and, of course, university leadership that we all get along and collaborate and coordinate," Taylor says. "We make sure that we all understand what rules are in place, what we're all experiencing, and how we all can work together to best affect public safety.

He says the pandemic is hurting local businesses.

"We're going through a hard time," Taylor says. "Obviously, Ann Arbor's downtown, all sorts of different businesses are here. We have wonderful retail, so many offices are based here, but we have a tremendous restaurant industry, and the restaurant industry is hit pretty hard. Fortunately, we've been closing down some of our streets during the summer and fall months to allow people to eat outside, we've been encouraging locals to eat local and order takeout. But, at the same time, we know that it's been a hard summer, a hard fall, and it's gonna be a hard winter. We're working together with them as best we can to hope that so many of them pull through."

He also says they're working to make sure public transportation is safe.

"The AAATA is making sure the drivers are safe by having contactless entry. They're making sure there are plexiglass and plastic barriers to make sure there's no virus transmitted there," Taylor says. "They're also requiring the riders, naturally, wear their masks. That's certainly the thing to do whenever you're in an enclosed space with other people."

You can see the full interview in the video player above.