COVID-19 restrictions to be tightened in Upper Michigan

The governor issued an Executive Order Wednesday that re-institutes the limit on indoor gatherings of no more than 10 people and closes indoor bars.
Michigan coronavirus
Michigan coronavirus(WLUC/MGN)
Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 5:02 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 29, 2020 at 5:03 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Coronavirus restrictions are being tightened again in Upper Michigan.

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 save 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.”

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.

State Rep. Beau LaFave, R-Iron Mountain, immediately criticized the new restrictions, saying the U.P. is doing a good job of keeping the virus from overwhelming the hospital system. LaFave says there is no need to “shut down the economy again.”

For some perspective, out of all the COVID-19 outbreak sites identified in Michigan last week, nearly one-third were associated with nursing homes and other adult-care facilities. About one-fifth were associated with social gatherings. Workplaces accounted for about 10 percent of outbreaks, and 9 percent were associated with restaurants.

Local health departments last week identified 78 new outbreaks. Those are defined as when contact tracers determine that a close contact of an infected person is also infected.

On Wednesday, Upper Michigan added eight new cases and seven new recoveries. Michigan reported 996 new cases statewide Wednesday, so the state’s total is now at 80,172 cases. Click here for more analysis of COVID-19 risk and hospitalizations in Upper Michigan.

You can read the full executive order here.

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