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Gov. Whitmer confirms Michigan restaurants can open starting Feb. 1

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Posted at 9:37 AM, Jan 22, 2021

(WXYZ) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer confirmed that restaurants in the state will be able to open starting Feb. 1 with restrictions.

Related: Capacity restrictions & curfews: Here are the rules MI restaurants must follow when reopening

Under the latest epidemic order, which will go into effect on Monday, Feb. 1, restaurants will be able to open at 25% capacity with up to 100 people, tables must be six feet apart with no more than six people per table, and bars and restaurants must close by 10 p.m. Contact information must also be collected from people for contact tracing purposes.

Outdoor tents will four sides are permitted under the same rules, according to the state.

Restaurants have been closed since mid-November after the state initiated a 3-week pause.

Concessions will also be allowed to open at casinos, movie tehaters and stadiums.

“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,” Whitmer said in a release. “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.”

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Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association President Justin Winslow released this statement after the announcement.

“We welcome the governor’s decision to reopen restaurant dining on February 1 as good, if overdue news. 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.”

The state is also offering a program to allow restaurants to become certified under the MI COVID-19 Safer Dining program which will inspect their ventilation system to show they are optimizing airflow.

Once certified, those businesses will be featured on a state website and get a copy of their certification to post at their restaurant.

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