Michigan relaxes capacity limitations for restaurants, bars, and gyms, allows visitation at nursing homes

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click to enlarge Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. - State of Michigan
State of Michigan
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

It's been a month since Governor Gretchen Whitmer's administration gave the green light for indoor dining across the state to resume with restrictions, and already the state is allowing restaurants and a handful of other businesses to now operate at increased capacities.

On Tuesday Whitmer announced that Michigan's bars, restaurants, and retail businesses can now increase their maximum operational capacity from 25% to 50%. Restaurants and bars can also extend their curfews from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. as a result of Tuesday's announcement.

Venues such as movie theaters and bowling alleys can increase capacities to 50% or up to 300 people, and casinos and gyms can bump up to 30%, but operational machines for both must remain six feet apart.

And there's some good news for larger venues, like sports stadiums and arenas. Venues that seat less than 10,000 people may now allow 375 attendees, and those that seat more than 10,000 can have up to 750 people.

Restrictions on residential indoor gatherings and outdoor gatherings, like weddings and graduation parties, have also been relaxed. Indoor gatherings can now include up to 25 people from different households, and indoor private residential gatherings are now capped at 15 people from up to three different households. Residential outdoor gatherings can include up to 50 people, and non-residential outdoor events have increased to 300 people.

Tuesday's announcement also outlined protocol for the Residential Care Facilities Order, which, as of Tuesday, resumes in-person outdoor/indoor visitations at nursing homes and other care facilities as long as visitors receive a negative rapid COVID-19 test result upon visiting. It also allows for “communal dining and group activities” for residents. Visitors must also wear face masks at all times and maintain social distancing. However, visitation is only allowed if that facility has not reported a new COVID-19 case in the last 14 days.

“As we continue our vaccine rollout and make steady progress against the virus, we are taking additional incremental steps to re-engage to ensure we are protecting our families and frontline workers and saving lives,” Gov. Whitmer said Tuesday.

“Michigan is a national leader in the fight against COVID-19, and our fact-based, data-driven approach will help our state rebuild our economy and resume normal day-to-day activities. As always, mask up, maintain social distancing, and wash your hands. We all have a personal responsibility to slow the spread of the virus so we can end this pandemic together. One of the most important things Michiganders can do is make a plan to get the safe and effective vaccine when it’s available to you.”

Whitmer also announced the formation of a new workgroup under the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity that will advise the administration as to how people can safely return to in-person work for “white collar” employees with office workspaces who have been forced to work remotely since the pandemic began.

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