(Wednesday - January 13, 2021) - Robert Gordon, Director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, (pictured above) announced on Wednesday that the restriction on indoor restaurant dining will be extended until at least January 31st.

The announcement was made in conjunction with Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and the Chief Medical Executive of the MDHHS, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun.

The earlier order, which was scheduled to expire on Friday, January 15, has been extended until January 31. Restaurants are not allowed to open for indoor dining and entertainment venues canít offer concessions during that time, Gordon said.

"The efforts we have made together to protect our families, frontline workers and small business owners are working," Whitmer said. "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."

Some restrictions have been modified

As part of the extension, indoor group exercise and non-contact sports are permitted, starting January 16, Gordon said.

Activities where Michiganders can wear masks and maintain social distancing are allowed, he said.

This change was made because Michigan has seen a decline across all three major COVID-19 metrics -- case rate, percent positivity and hospitalizations -- since the order was first put into effect in November. Those numbers are beginning to plateau, however, which is a concern since theyíre still nowhere near where medical experts would like, despite the decline.

"We are reopening cautiously because caution is working to save lives," Gordon said. "The new order allows group exercise and non-contact sports, always with masks and social distancing, because in the winter itís not as easy to get out and exercise and physical activity is important for physical and mental health. 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."

Contact sports remain prohibited under the extended order.

The Governor said the State hopes to permit resumption of indoor dining at restaurants in February.

Indoor residential gatherings remain 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.

On Tuesday, the state of Michigan reported 1,994 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 100 additional deaths. Overall, the state has identified 525,612 cases of the virus and 13,501 deaths since the start of the pandemic.


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