Governor Whitmer today (July 1) signed a new executive order closing indoor service at bars throughout most of lower Michigan to “protect the progress Michigan has made against COVID-19,” according to a statement. The order takes effect at 11 p.m. tonight.
The Upper Peninsula and much of northern Michigan, Regions 6 and 8, are excluded from the order. In addition, bars across Michigan are allowed to continue to serve outdoors.
“We owe it to our front line heroes who have sacrificed so much during this crisis to do everything we can to slow the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the chance of a resurgence like we are seeing in other states,” Governor Whitmer said in a statement.
“Following recent outbreaks tied to bars, I am taking this action today to slow the spread of the virus and keep people safe,” she added. “If we want to be in a strong position to reopen schools for in-person classroom instruction this fall, then we need to take aggressive action right now to ensure we don’t wipe out all the progress we have made.”
This past week, every region in Michigan saw an uptick in new cases. In Ingham County, health officials have linked 107 confirmed COVID-19 cases to an outbreak on one bar in East Lansing.
“Bars are often crowded, indoors and poorly ventilated — all of which make it easy to spread COVID-19 from person to person,” a statement from the Governor’s office reads. “Bars also encourage mingling among groups and facilitate close contact over an extended period of time. They are noisy, requiring raised voices and allowing for more projection of viral droplets. And they serve alcohol, which reduces inhibitions and decreases compliance with mask use and physical distancing rules.”
“I urge all Michiganders to double down on mitigation tactics like wearing masks, practicing physical distancing, and washing hands, so we can get our trajectory headed in the right direction again,” Governor Whitmer added. “If we open up our economy too quickly, the efforts of the last three months will be for nothing and we will have to go through this pain all over again and put our economy, health and medical system at risk. Nobody wants to move backward. Everyone, please do your part, and let’s show the nation and the world how smart we are.”
The governor also signed a package of bills allowing cocktails-to-go at bars and restaurants to help these businesses serve more Michiganders.
For more on the order, go here.