Bars, Restaurants, Indoor Dining Reopens February 1
Governor Whitmer announced today Indoor dining can resume here in Michigan as of February 1st. There are restrictions still in effect, Bars and restaurants are limited in capacity to 25% or 100 people, whichever is lesser of the two. They will also close by 10pm to follow the curfew.
Even though dine-in will now be allowed, state leaders are still trying to persuade people to continue take out and delivery. Health officials have continued to reinforce that gathering indoors without a mask is still one of the simplest ways to spread this virus, according to Michigan Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun.
Michigan restaurants were allowed to open at 50% capacity in the summer and fall and had no curfew. Indoor dining has been closed in Michigan since Nov. 18. The revised health order takes effect Feb. 1 and runs through Feb. 21. A few activities must remain closed, including night clubs, water parks and some contact sports, the state announced. Other states have similar curfews in hopes of reducing gatherings. Ohio has had a 10 p.m. curfew at restaurants since November.
Groups like seniors, or others with medical conditions are encouraged to think twice before deciding to eat inside a restaurant. Khaldun also reinforced “Just because something is open does not mean that it is 100% safe or that you should do it.”
Groups representing restaurants in Michigan are happy for the reopening, but still concerned with the restrictions. “Reopening at 25% capacity is a start, but it’s not what we were hoping for or what our industry needs right now,” said Michigan Licensed Beverage Association Executive Director Scott Ellis in a news release.
You will find many businesses have been closed due to the fact the carryout business was not enough to keep their doors open, and they worry this strict limit will keep many places closed. A recent study shows about two thirds of bars and restaurants would open their doors for 25% capacity. The MRLA is asking for clear metrics of when restaurants can allow for higher capacities, and for hospitality workers to be made a higher priority in vaccine administration.
Our leaders here in Michigan have concentrated on three metrics when deciding what to open. They are Covid-19 case numbers, hospitalizations and what percentage of tests are coming back positive. All three have dropped by more than 50% since the dining restrictions began.
We are all waiting for it to be safe to get back to some kind of normalcy. Dr. Fauci says he thinks by fall of this year things that could be happening. The vaccines will be a huge help and give all of us a fighting chance. But we still have to do our part, wear a mask, wash your hands and keep a social distance.