Governor Whitmer announces extension of partial shutdown by 12 days

LANSING, Mich.—Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Monday announced that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services epidemic order that places restrictions on some businesses and indoor gatherings in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 will be extended by 12 days.

The initial three-week "Pause to Save Lives" order was set to expire on December 8 at 11:59 p.m. It will now expire on December 20.

Whitmer said the extension will allow state health officials to track and assess how Thanksgiving travel affected the spread of COVID-19.

The governor said that three metrics will be used to decide what can open when the order expires, including the percentage of hospital beds with COVID patients, the number of COVID-19 cases and the positivity rate.

The state's first priority is reopening high schools, according to Whitmer. Entertainment venues where people can maintain consistent face mask usage, like casinos, theaters and bowling alleys, with concessions closed, will follow. 

The order limits indoor residential gatherings to two households at any one time as long as high precautions are taken.

Bars and restaurants in Michigan may only be open for outdoor dining, carry-out and delivery. Indoor dining is prohibited under the order.

Gyms are able to remain open for individual exercise but group exercise activities are not allowed.

In-person instruction at colleges, universities and high schools is prohibited under the order.

Entertainment venues including movie theaters, indoor water parks and bowling alleys will remain closed.

Individuals should wear face masks when inside with others not in their household. 

Professional and college sports meeting extraordinary standards for risk mitigation may continue without spectators.

The order, however, does not include a blanket stay-at-home order, according to the MDHHS.

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