Restaurants across Michigan received clearance on Friday from Governor Gretchen Whitmer during a press conference that they will be able to reopen for indoor dining. Beginning on February 1, 2021, restaurants may reopen their dining rooms with a restriction of groups up to ten people from two households, a 25 percent capacity limit, and a curfew of 10:00 p.m. “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,” said Governor Whitmer. “Michigan continues to be a national leader in fighting this virus, and we must continue working to keep it that way.” The decision to reopen indoor dining was made based on data showing a decline in hospitalizations, percent positive rate, and overall cases. While different sectors of the community continue to reopen, Governor Whitmer encourages a continuation of safety measures while out and about to continue to decline positive COVID-19 cases. “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,” said Governor Whitmer. Bon appétit!
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The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) released its next epidemic order today which goes into effect on Monday, February 1, 2021. The order will allow for indoor dining at restaurants with certain requirements; concessions at casinos, movie theaters and stadiums; personal services requiring mask removal; and non-residential gatherings of up to 10 people from two households. The new order will last three weeks, until Sunday, February 21, 2021.
Restaurants and bars will be allowed to reopen at 25 percent capacity with up to 100 people. Tables must be six feet apart with no more than six people per table. Outdoor tents with four sides are permitted under these same rules. Bars and restaurants must close by 10 p.m. Additionally, contact information must be collected from diners for contact tracing purposes.
Indoor residential and non-residential gatherings are limited to 10 people and two households. MDHHS continues to urge families to avoid indoor gatherings or to pick a single other household to interact with consistent with guidance already released by the department. Families are encouraged to stay home as much as possible to maintain momentum and to protect loved ones. Families are also encouraged to Mask Up, Mask Right, using guidance for what masks to wear and how to wear them.
The epidemic order continues to temporarily pause indoor contact sports and other venues and activities where participants have close physical contacts and are not consistently masked, like water parks. However, as of January 22, 2021, stadiums can allow up to 500 people at venues that seat over 10,000 people and stadiums that seat less than 10,000 are allowed to be at 20 percent capacity, up to 250 people. This will allow for additional attendance at high school football finals being hosted this weekend.
As before, employees who work in jobs that cannot be performed from home can continue to go to work, while employees who can work from home should continue to do so.
Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus. To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit Michigan.gov/COVIDVaccine.
MI COVID-19 Safer Dining Program
Part of Governor Whitmer’s effort to get Michigan’s restaurants reopened safely is a voluntary program called, “MI COVID-19 Safer Dining,” where restaurants can work with a licensed HVAC contractor, engineer, or other certified HVAC professional who may recommend changes to air ventilation to improve circulation and reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread. Restaurants will also abide by safety protocols, including mask wearing, social distancing, and regular disinfection and cleaning. To kick off the program, Michigan’s Department of Labor and Opportunity (LEO) and MDHHS will be holding introductory webinars for HVAC contractors, as well as restaurant and food establishment owners and operators. The basics of the program will be shared, along with important requirements and ample time for a questions and answers.
- Webinar for HVAC Contractors | Monday, January 25, 2021 | Noon to 1:00 p.m. EST. There is no advance registration required. Live captioning will be available, and the webinar will be recorded. Click this link to join the HVAC webinar at the time indicated.
- Webinar for Restaurants and Food Establishments | Monday, January 25, 2021 | 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST. There is no advance registration. Live captioning will be available and the webinar will be recorded. Click this link to join the Restaurants and Food Establishments webinar at the time indicated.