Michigan governor shuts down bars, restaurants dine-in service amid COVID-19 outbreak

Residents urged to use delivery, carry out options as dining-in is banned temporarily

Restaurant closed sign. (Pexels)

DETROIT – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is issuing an order Monday to close all bars and restaurants in the state to as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread.

The order goes into effect 3 p.m. Monday, March 16. Residents are urged to use carry out or delivery options, but won’t be allowed to eat at the establishments.

UPDATED INFO HERE: Michigan orders gyms, cafes, theaters to close; limits bars, restaurants to carry out, delivery amid coronavirus

The order comes after Michigan banned gatherings of 250 or more on Friday, but some bars and restaurants failed to comply with the order. Many bars were still crowded through the weekend. On Sunday, the CDC recommended that Americans avoid groups of 50 people or more.

In Michigan, more than 50 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, while cases topped 3,000 in the U.S. as of Sunday.

Ohio and Illinois have announced similar measures to try and mitigate the outbreak. Other states are expected to follow.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued the following statement in support of Whitmer’s executive order:

“My thoughts today are with the workers and businesses in our food and hospitality industries. It is heartbreaking that an industry built on service to others must be shut down to help protect and keep safe the families they call their customers and friends. In an effort to help them through this difficult and unexpected shutdown, I am asking our partners in the state and federal legislature to look for ways to help alleviate the financial impact of this shutdown. The governor’s order was necessary and appropriate in light of the extraordinary circumstances in which we find ourselves and we will be working with our state, county and local law enforcement partners to enforce the order. I am proud of the tens of thousands of businesses and hundreds of thousands of workers who recognize the gravity of this situation and are responding quickly and without hesitation. We owe them our gratitude and support.”

Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association President & CEO Justin Winslow released this statement:

“We stand with the governor in her decision to limit restaurant operation to carry-out, drive-thru and delivery during these extraordinary times. It is incumbent upon all Michiganders to remain united to prevent a catastrophic overrun of our limited healthcare resources. We recognize the Governor’s decision is for the health and well-being of all Michigan citizens, however, the restaurant and lodging industries will be decimated in the coming weeks, severely impacting the 600,000 people they employ. To that end, we call on the governor to immediately submit the necessary paperwork to qualify Michigan for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and to work quickly to infuse more liquidity for small businesses struggling to make payroll and keep their doors open. We remain committed to working collaboratively with the governor and other elected leaders to safely navigate the immediate threat from COVID-19 and look forward to collectively working to rebuild Michigan’s hospitality industry.

Michigan’s hospitality industry dedicates itself year-round to create memorable experiences for you, your family, and friends. Now, our hospitality industry is going to need extra support from the community as it navigates the coming weeks and months. You can help by purchasing gift cards from your favorite restaurant and utilizing take-out and delivery services.”

How COVID-19 Spreads

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
  • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

Prevention & Treatment

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.

Read more about coronavirus here.

About the Authors:

Ken Haddad has proudly been with WDIV/ClickOnDetroit since 2013. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters, and helps lead the WDIV Insider team. He's a big sports fan and is constantly sipping Lions Kool-Aid.