LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — A new epidemic order issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services allows indoor group exercise to resume and non-contact sports to begin, but does keep indoor dining closed until at least Feb. 1.
The order, announced by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and MDHHS Director Robert Gordon, goes into effect Saturday, Jan. 16 and lasts until Sunday, Jan. 31.
Restaurants have been closed since mid-November when a 3-week pause was announced due to rising cases, but as other businesses have been able to open, indoor dining has stayed closed.
“The efforts we have made together to protect our families, frontline workers and small business owners are working. While there has been a slight uptick in our percent positivity rate, our cases per million have plateaued and more hospital beds are becoming available. Today, we are confident that MDHHS can lift some of the protocols that were previously in place,” Whitmer said in a release.
According to the state, hospital capacity has been declining for the past 13 days, the overall case rate is increasing and the positivity rate is plateauing.
"If numbers continue to head in the right direction, our hope is to resume indoor dining with strong safety measures on Feb. 1," Whitmer said.
Those measures would include capacity restrictions and a curfew.
“We are reopening cautiously because caution is working to save lives. The new order allows group exercise and non-contact sports, always with masks and social distancing, because in the winter it’s not as easy to get out and exercise and physical activity is important for physical and mental health,” Gordon added in a release. “We are glad that we made it through the holidays without a big increase in numbers, but there are also worrying signs in the new numbers. We need to remain focused and continue to see declines in hospitalizations and to bring case rates and percent positivity down by doing what we know works.”
Indoor gatherings in Michigan remain limited to 10 people and two households, according to the state, and people are urged to avoid indoor gatherings and stay home as much as possible.