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Entertainment venues back open in metro Detroit after partial shutdown

Posted at 4:25 AM, Dec 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-21 19:00:29-05

(WXYZ) — Entertainment venues were able to open back up in metro Detroit at midnight Monday morning after a partial shutdown that lasted just over a month.

Related: Read the Michigan epidemic order keeping in-person dining closed, reopening some businesses

On Friday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon announced a new epidemic order, but the order did not include the continued closure for entertainment venues like movie theatres, casinos, bowling alleys and more.

Indoor dining does remain halted through at least Jan. 15, under the latest order.

Related: High schools in Michigan can reopen for in-person instruction after holiday break

One change Michiganders will see: Concessions will not be allowed to open, as people won't be allowed to eat or drink inside those entertainment venues. That's part of an effort to keep masks on at all times.

VP and General Counsel for MGM Grand Detroit Louis Theros told Action News MGM will re-open to guests on Wednesday, to allow results from recent employee COVID tests to be returned.

"Because our employees were working in November when we had to close in November have been for about five weeks, we decided to COVID test all returning employees. That was one of the reasons for the delay, we were testing slightly over 1,000 employees," he said.

MotorCity Casino has also announced it plans to re-open Wednesday. Greektown Casino has yet to announce a re-opening date.

Theros said that in addition to strict mask enforcement and additional cleaning, he hopes the casino's air filtration system will put guests as ease once they return.

“We have high end filters that bring in fresh air from the outside 16 times an hour," Theros told Action News. "So if you’re playing a slot machine and you’ve been there for four and a half minutes, all the air in front of you has been replaced by outdoor air.”

"We're precluded for offering concession products under the current circumstances and so it won't be the entire Emagine experience, but we think it's really important and we're delighted to welcome back our guests," said Chairman and CEO of Emagine Entertainment, Paul Glantz, noting that the week between Christmas and New Years is generally the busiest for theaters.

Entertainment venues will have to operate under a capacity limit of 100 people in most cases.

"We’re allowed 20 people per 1,000 square feet but in any distinct space no more than 100," Theros said.

On Nov. 15, Whitmer and Gordon announced a "3-week pause" which halted indoor dining and closed entertainment venues. That pause was extended for 12 days, but the order expired at 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

Now, several types of businesses can reopen. Those include:

  • Theaters
  • Movie theaters
  • stadiums and arenas
  • Bowling centers
  • Bingo halls
  • Casinos
  • Arcades

MotorCity Casino announced it was reopening on Wednesday, Dec. 23 at 1 p.m. so the staff could get tested.

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.