Here are the 14 changes to Michigan’s COVID rules: Restaurants, gyms, stadiums, retail, gatherings

Michigan loosens restrictions on indoor dining at restaurants, retail, more

Dumbbells at a gym. (pixabay.com)

Michigan announced several changes to its COVID-19 restrictions Tuesday, including new rules for restaurants, gyms, stadiums, retail shops and gatherings.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced the revised restrictions on Tuesday.

These changes will go into effect Friday (March 5) and last until April 19. Here’s a look at what’s changing.

Indoor dining at bars, restaurants

Michigan restaurants and bars will be allowed to fill up to 50% capacity, with a maximum of 100 people, according to the state. Restaurants had previously been capped at 25% capacity.

The indoor dining curfew has been pushed back from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Parties are still limited to six people per table, and all tables have to be at least six feet apart, Whitmer said. Customers must still wear masks when they’re not seated at their tables.

Dining inside most covered patios, balconies, tents and other structures is also included among these restrictions, unless they’re mostly open to the air, state officials said.

Only one group is allowed to dine in an igloo, hut or small tent.

Food service for takeout and delivery is still permitted.

Retail, libraries, museums

Up until Friday, retail shops and businesses had been capped at 30% capacity. Now they will be able to operate at 50% capacity.

The same rules are in effect for other services, such as libraries and museums.

Spaces for indoor dining, such as food courts, have to comply with the requirements for restaurants.

Nursing homes

Visitation at nursing homes will now be allowed, Whitmer said.

“We know that this virus has taken a disproportionate toll on our seniors, and the isolation and the time apart have been taxing on everyone, with loved ones in long-term care facilities,” Whitmer said.

Under the new guidelines, family members can visit relatives in nursing homes after receiving a negative COVID-19 test.

Visitation is allowed as long as the facility has not had a new COVID-19 case in the last 14 days and all indoor visitors ages 13 and older are subject to rapid antigen testing.

Outdoor visits do not require testing, and they’re allowed if there haven’t been any recent COVID cases in the family, officials said.

Compassionate care requires testing, but end-of-life visits are exempt from testing, according to the state.

Different rules apply to special categories of visitors, such as medical providers and those giving assistance with activities of daily living, officials said.

Personal care services

Gatherings for personal care services, such as haircuts, nail appointments, tanning, massages, spas, tattoos, body art and piercings, are only allowed by appointment.

Masks have to be worn at all times during these appointments, unless a customer is receiving medical or personal care that requires a mask to be removed.

Entertainment venues

Entertainment venues are allowed to fill up to 50% capacity, with a maximum of 300 people, according to the state.

Individuals or groups of up to 25 people can visit these venues. Everyone has to wear a face mask at all times, unless eating or drinking while seated in a designated area. Eating or drinking in those areas is only allowed in groups of six people, and groups must be at least six feet apart.

“I’m proud that we are able to take this positive step without compromising public health,” Whitmer said.

The entertainment venues included in this update are auditoriums, cinemas, concert halls, performance venues, stadiums, theaters, archery ranges, amusement parks, arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, gun ranges, laser tag and trampoline parks.

Stadiums and arenas

Sports stadiums and arenas with a maximum seating capacity of 10,000 people or fewer can allow up to 375 fans.

Those same venues that have a maximum seating capacity of more than 10,000 people can have up to 750 fans in attendance.

“All of these re-engagements will enable Michiganders to enjoy more of life’s simplest pleasures that have been disrupted over the past year,” Whitmer said.

Gyms and exercise facilities

Michigan gyms can now operate up to 30% capacity. Workout stations have to remain at least six feet apart.

Gatherings are allowed indoors and outdoors for individual exercise, group classes and group or individual instruction, officials said.

Gymnasiums, fitness centers, exercise studios, tracks, sports complexes, pools, yoga studios, dance studios, gymnastics studios, cycling studios and trampoline parks are permitted under the guidelines.

Spaces and activities have to be set up to keep six feet of distance between people at all times, officials said.

Masks are required at all times, except during swimming.

Ice, roller rinks

Capacity limits for ice and roller rinks is now set at 10 people per 1,000 square feet. That equates to about 175 people for a typically sized rink, according to the state.

Contact sports

Contact sports that can be played while wearing a mask are allowed to proceed with practice and competition, a decision that went into effect Feb. 8.

When a sports organizer has deemed a type of sport is unsafe to play while wearing a mask, all participants have to be tested, consistent with the testing protocols specified in the MDHHS Interim Guidance for Athletics.

Gatherings in public

Indoor gatherings of people from different households at places like banquet halls can now reach up to 25 people, Whitmer announced.

Small public gatherings had previously been banned.

“Going out for a meal with your family, a date night to go see the new cheesy rom-com, a coffee with your grandma -- these are the things that made our lives full, and I know how eager we all are to get back to enjoying our days with our loved ones,” Whitmer said.

Everyone at these gatherings must wear a face mask at all times, unless they’re eating or drinking while seated in a designated area, Whitmer said. No more than six people can be seated in one of those groups while eating or drinking.

Groups have to be six feet apart and cannot intermingle while eating or drinking.

Outdoor public gatherings

Outdoor public gatherings are now allowed with up to 300 people.

“We are getting there, Michigan,” Whitmer said. “This is good news. I want to reiterate: We have to redouble our efforts, though, to stay safe as we re-engage. It’s more important now than ever.”

Everyone at these gatherings must wear a face mask at all times, unless they’re eating or drinking while seated in a designated area, Whitmer said. No more than six people can be seated in one of those groups while eating or drinking.

Groups have to be six feet apart and cannot intermingle while eating or drinking.

Indoor residential gatherings

Whitmer said indoor residential gatherings will now be allowed up to 15 people and three different households.

Previously, such gatherings were capped at 10 people and two households.

Face masks are required at all times, unless people are eating or drinking.

Residents are encouraged to form a “pod” of people to socialize with consistently, instead of gathering with different households at a time, state officials said.

Outdoor residential gatherings

People can now gather outside with up to 50 people, with no restriction on households, officials said.

Face masks are required at all times, unless people are eating or drinking.

Residents are encouraged to form a “pod” of people to socialize with consistently, instead of gathering with different households at a time, state officials said.

Casinos

Indoor Michigan casinos can now fill up to 30% capacity.

“The only reason we are at this point is because you’ve been doing the right thing every day to protect yourself and your family and your community,” Whitmer said.


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