Governor Takes a Step Back with Michigan’s Re-Opening
Governor Whitmer is taking Michigan’s re-opening back a step. In a release on Wednesday, the Governor said the problem is an activity that encourages “mingling among groups and facilitates close contact over an extended period. They are noisy, requiring raised voices and allowing for more projection of viral droplets”
Is Governor Whitmer banning civil rights demonstrations like the one she took part in three weeks ago?
The release states that “over the past week, every region in Michigan has seen an uptick in new cases, and daily case counts now exceed 20 cases per million in the Grand Rapids, Lansing and Kalamazoo regions. Nearly 25% of diagnoses in June were of people ages 20 to 29, up from roughly 16% in May. That shift aligns with national trends, and the evidence suggests that young people may be driving a new phase of the pandemic.”
The protests, right? Wrong!
Governor Whitmer today signed Executive Order 2020-143 closing indoor service at bars throughout most of lower Michigan. Bars in most of northern Michigan and the U-P are still ok to serve thirsty customers. But as for the rest……the bars are closing early! In fact, at 11 pm tonight, July 1st. Ok, they can still serve outside.
“Following recent outbreaks tied to bars, I am taking this action today to slow the spread of the virus and keep people safe,” said Whitmer. 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.”
The Governor’s reasoning isn’t all that crazy. The statement says “Bars are often crowded, indoors and poorly ventilated — all of which make it easy to spread COVID-19 from person to person……and they serve alcohol, which reduces inhibitions and decreases compliance with mask use and physical distancing rules.”
The governor’s order applies to establishments with on-premises retailer liquor licenses that earn more than 70% of their gross receipts from alcohol sales. That means that most brewpubs, distilleries, and vineyards can stay open indoors. Traditional bars, nightclubs, and strip clubs will have to end indoor service.
Governor Whitmer today also signed Senate Bill 942 and House Bills 5781 and 5811 into law, which allows bars and restaurants to sell cocktails-to-go and expand social districts to allow for more outdoor seating and areas for people to safely congregate while practicing physical distancing.
“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,” said Governor Whitmer.