As nearly 15,000 people have died in Michigan from the coronavirus and the state has gone through a series of closures, openings and reclosures, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) released their latest epidemic order.
The order, going into effect Feb. 1, allows for indoor dining to reopen with safety measures. Non-residential gatherings of up to 10 people from two households are also able to resume. In a press release from Michigan State Police (MSP), Gov. Gretchen Whitmer pushed for vaccinations and continued mitigation efforts.
"One of the most important things Michiganders can do is to make a plan to get the safe and effective vaccine when it's available to you," Whitmer said. "And as always, mask up and maintain six feet of social distancing."
Restaurants and bars will be allowed to reopen at 25% capacity, up to 100 people. All tables must be six feet apart with no more than six people per table. They will also be required to close by 10 p.m.
Although restaurants are opening, MDHHS Director Robert Gordon said in the MSP release that people should consider safer options.
"The science is clear that unmasked, indoor activities like dining and drinking are still a source of high risk around COVID-19," Gordon said. "The safest course remains to support your favorite restaurant with carryout, delivery or outdoor dining."
Concessions at casinos, movie theaters and stadiums and personal services requiring mask removal will also be able to reopen. The order will be in effect until Sunday, Feb. 21.
Hospital capacity dedicated to COVID-19 patients sits at 9.9%, which peaked at 19.6% early last month, on Dec. 4, 2020. Positivity rate is currently at 6.8%. As of Jan. 21, the state had 544,311 confirmed cases and 14,053 confirmed deaths. Three cases of the new, more transmissible strain, B117, have been identified in Michigan as of Jan. 21, according to a Detroit Free Press report.