Michigan's indoor dining ban will be lifted Feb. 1, state health director says

Michigan indoor dining ban to be lifted Feb. 1
Photo credit Getty Images - FILE
By WWJ Newsradio 950

**UPDATE 1/22: New COVID-19 order goes into effect in Michigan Feb. 1 — Here's what's in it

(WWJ) The much-debated ban on indoor dining in Michigan will be lifted on Monday, Feb. 1, according to a state official.

The Director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says bars and restaurants will be allowed to reopen for indoor service on that date, which had been tentatively announced — but not promised — by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last week.

Director Robert Gordon made the announcement during a conference call on Wednesday, noting that recent statistics show cases of the coronavirus have plateaued in Michigan.

Gorden said health officials believe the "pause" on indoor dining worked.

"The state has gained tremendously because of the pause, and because of the significant reductions in case levels, in positivity and hospitalizations," Gordon said. "And so that date remains Feb. 1."

He cautioned, however: "While restaurants will be reopening on that day, there will continue to be risks associated with indoor dining."

Gorden's statements are in line with that Whitmer said, when last discussing the issue. The governor said, as long as the numbers continued to decline, Feb. 1 would be the date.

As for the details, Gordon said more information on the re-opening of restaurants — including exactly what restrictions will be in place — would be announced on Friday. Many expect a curfew, crowd size limitations and mask rules to stay in effect.

Get details on all COVID-19-related rules currently in place, regarding masks, gatherings, businesses and more, HERE.

This update comes as businesses owners, legislators and others have been pleading with Whitmer to reopen struggling restaurants, before more are forced to go out of business for good.

Dan Lauwers, of St. Clair County's Brockway Township, yesterday told WWJ that bars and restaurants in his district are barely clinging to life, and must reopen now.

Looking at the most recent numbers, MDHHS announced just over 2,000 new cases of the coronavirus in the state on Wednesday. While 40 additional deaths were recorded, MDHHS said hospitalizations are trending down. The number of people who have died since the pandemic hit Michigan last March is now 13,905.

An order shut down Michigan's restaurant dining rooms and bars on Nov. 18, with socially-distanced outdoor seating, takeout, and delivery permitted. The order has been extended three times and is scheduled to expire on Sunday, January 31.