LANSING, Mich. – If Michigan restaurants are allowed to reopen their doors to indoor dining at the beginning of next month, it will be with new and strengthened COVID-19 safety rules, according to state officials.
On Wednesday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the state hopes to resume indoor dining at restaurants by Feb. 1, as long as COVID-19 metrics meet state standards.
If they do reopen, restaurants will face increased restrictions, Whitmer said.
“We’re working on a path to allow indoor dining at restaurants with safety measures such as mask requirements, capacity limits and a curfew, starting on Feb. 1,” Whitmer said.
More specific details about the topic will be released in the coming days, according to the governor.
“The governor spoke about reopening restaurants -- that is something we plan to do on Feb. 1,” said Robert Gordon, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Gordon said indoor dining is inherently risky in terms of spreading COVID-19 because it requires people from different households to remove their masks while indoors.
“We will have more to say soon about steps to mitigate these risks as best as possible, based on our experience with the pandemic,” Gordon said.
Reducing the number of people inside restaurants and improving ventilation, in particular, will be addressed in the mitigation of those risks, Gordon said.
He said whether or not restaurants actually reopen Feb. 1 will depend on what happens with COVID-19 cases between now and the end of the month.