LANSING, Mich. – Michigan officials have implemented a new series of stricter COVID-19 regulations that will go into effect this week.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced Sunday that the new restrictions will be in effect from Wednesday (Nov. 18) through Dec. 8.
Here are 14 major changes:
- High school classes must now be conducted remotely.
- College classes must now be conducted remotely.
- Work must be done remotely, unless the job absolutely has to be done in person.
- Indoor dining is no longer allowed at bars and restaurants.
- Organized sports are no longer permitted, with the exception of professional sports and a select number of NCAA sports.
- Group fitness classes are no longer allowed.
- Theaters and movie theaters must close.
- Stadiums and arenas must close.
- Bowling alleys will be closed.
- Ice skating rinks will be closed.
- Indoor water parks will be closed.
- Bingo halls will be closed.
- Casinos will be closed.
- Arcades will be closed.
MDHHS issued the restrictions Sunday evening, and Whitmer held a press briefing to make the announcement.
On Saturday, Michigan reported 7,072 new COVID-19 cases and 65 additional deaths, bringing the state totals up to 251,813 cases and 7,994 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Michigan reported a single-day record 8,516 new cases Friday.
MDHHS has the authority to issue these orders during the pandemic, and has been doing so since the Michigan Supreme Court struck down the law Whitmer was using to issue her executive orders.
Whitmer had previously been issuing restrictions without the approval of the Republican-led Legislature, but now the orders fall to MDHHS.
During her Thursday press briefing, Whitmer and Dr. Joneigh Khladun, chief medical executive of MDHHS, painted a harrowing picture of Michigan’s current COVID-19 situation.
Whitmer urged residents to follow COVID-19 safety protocols during the Thanksgiving season by celebrating only with people who live in their own household.
She also outlined six common mistakes Michiganders are making that’s resulting in the spread of the virus. Click here to read about those mistakes.
Hospital leaders concerned
Earlier Thursday morning, leaders from Michigan’s major hospital systems came together for a virtual discussion about their concerns.
John Fox, the president and CEO of Beaumont Health, said community behavior is what’s driving the spread of the virus. He and other state health care leaders are concerned about what’s ahead for hospitals if the trends don’t reverse.
“If we don’t do it, there’ll be all sorts of consequences for our communities that we don’t want to go through,” Fox said. “We don’t want to go back into the spring of this year, when it really was getting to be a very difficult situation. The health care system can capsize if you don’t keep it under control.”
They all weighed in on whether stricter government COVID-19 rules were inevitable as cases spike in Michigan.
“If doing the right thing and using ration and science isn’t sufficient, then there may be other steps that end up being necessary,” said Wright Lassiter, president and CEO of Henry Ford Health System.
Brian Peters, the CEO of the Michigan Heath and Hospital Association, said one of the main problems with the spread of COVID-19 statewide is that people aren’t convinced certain safety measures are necessary, so they aren’t going to follow them.
“Regardless of what the law says, if people aren’t convinced that doing something is the right thing, then they’re not going to do it when no one is watching,” Peters said.