Friday, September 25, 2020

Whitmer signs executive order to close indoor bar service

July 1, 2020
<p>Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the MSU College Democrats on Sept. 18, 2018, at Wells Hall. State News file photo.</p>

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the MSU College Democrats on Sept. 18, 2018, at Wells Hall. State News file photo.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed an executive order to close bars and nightclubs for indoor service in regions that are in Phase 4 of the MI Safe Start Plan

The order comes after 139 cases of COVID-19 have been linked to Harper’s Restaurant and Brewpub in East Lansing since it momentarily reopened in June. 

“Bars have many features that facilitate the spread of COVID-19: they are often crowded, indoors, and poorly ventilated,” Whitmer said in the order. “They encourage mingling among groups and facilitate close contact over an extended period of time.”

Under this order, restaurants may remain open for indoor service, but alcohol can only be served to customers who are seated at socially distanced tables. Restaurants and bars may still seat customers outdoors, but only at socially distanced tables. 

Common areas in restaurants where people can “congregate, dance, or otherwise mingle” must also be closed.

The order requires patrons to remain seated except to exit or enter, to order food or use the restroom. Alcoholic beverages cannot be ordered at a bar except by patrons who are seated there. 

Alcoholic beverages can be sold to-go for off-premises consumption.

In the order, Whitmer said the serving of alcohol at bars reduces inhibitions and decreases compliance with the use of face coverings and physical distancing rules in place to mitigate the spread of the virus. 

The governor also cited that bars are noisy, requiring raised voices and allowing for greater projection of viral droplets, which will spread COVID-19.

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