Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed an executive order that will allow Detroit’s casinos to re-open next week, but at a reduced capacity. It could also force many bars and restaurants in northwest lower Michigan and the Upper Peninsula to shut down Friday.
“After seeing a resurgence in cases connected to social gatherings across the state, we must further limit gatherings for the health of our community and our economy,” said Whitmer in a press release. “By taking these strong actions, we will be better positioned to get our children back into classrooms and avoid a potentially devastating second wave.”
But the order does put the brakes on plans to gradually re-open more portions of Michigan’s economy.
Starting Friday morning, the order applies to all indoor bars and restaurants where alcohol service accounts for at least 70 percent of gross receipts. It also bans indoor gatherings of 10 or more people who don’t live in the same household.
Justin Winslow with the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association said the order is not a surprise.
“It doesn’t mean the impact isn’t going to be severe here in Michigan,” he said. “The hospitality industry, restaurants and hotels have been impacted just tremendously, and it is going on for a period that is really unsustainable for this industry.”
Scott Ellis with the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association said the warmer months are when most bars in northern Michigan make most of their money for the year.
“In northern Michigan, these are all your small-town bars and your small-town pubs, you know, the local hangouts, that may not serve a lot of good, may not have a lot of other forms of revenue, and the majority of their business may come out of alcohol sales.”
The order expands the gathering limits that already apply to bars and restaurants across the rest of the state.
(You can read the full release below.)
LANSING, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-160 and Executive Order 2020-161, amending Michigan’s Safe Start Order and issuing revised workplace safeguards. Under the Safe Start Order, starting July 31, 2020, statewide indoor gatherings will be limited to 10 people and bars will be closed for indoor service across the state, including in Regions 6 and 8.
“As we see COVID-19 cases continue to rise, Michiganders cannot afford to drop our guard. We must take every step possible to saave lives, protect the brave men and women on the front lines, and avoid overwhelming our healthcare system while we continue to combat COVID-19,” said Governor Whitmer. “After seeing a resurgence in cases connected to social gatherings across the state, we must further limit gatherings for the health of our community and economy. By taking these strong actions, we will be better positioned to get our children back into classrooms and avoid a potentially devastating second wave.”
COVID-19’s resurgence is closely associated with super-spreading events at large social gatherings, often attended by young people. An outbreak at a Lansing bar has resulted in 187 infections; more than 50 cases have been linked to a single house party in Saline; and a sandbar party at Torch Lake over the July 4 weekend led to at least 43 confirmed cases. Therefore, Executive Order 2020-160 limits statewide indoor gatherings to 10 people or less and, across most of the state, limits outdoor gatherings to 100. (The outdoor gathering limits will remain at 250 in Regions 6 and 8.)
Executive Order 2020-160 also orders that bars in every region, including those in regions 6 and 8, must close for indoor service if they earn more than 70% of their gross receipts from sales of alcoholic beverages.
Under the governor’s orders, Detroit casinos will also be allowed to open on August 5, but their occupancy will be limited to 15% capacity. Casinos must also, among other things, conduct a daily entry screening protocol for customers and employees, temperature screening. Casinos must require patrons to wear a face covering, except while eating or drinking or for identification purposes.
Executive Order 2020-160 will rescind Executive Orders 2020-110, 2020-115, 2020-120, 2020-133, and 2020-143.
To view Executive Order 2020-160 and Executive Order 2020-161, click the links below: