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Published in Small Business
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Gov. Gretchen Whitmer COURTESY PHOTO

State extends COVID-19 restrictions for 12 more days

BY Monday, December 07, 2020 03:50pm

The Whitmer administration has extended restrictions on indoor dining and various indoor entertainment facilities for 12 more days to help curb the surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services extended a prior emergency order today restricting indoor dining, casinos, movie theaters and group exercise facilities. The restrictions also continue remote learning for higher education and high schools.

During a press conference Monday afternoon, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the measures would be “targeted” and “temporary,” while leaving open a “pathway to cautious re-engagement after those 12 days.”

“We cannot risk overwhelming our hospitals further,” said Whitmer, adding that 79 percent of all hospital beds in Michigan are now occupied.

“The hospital capacity issue we’re dealing with now is different than it was in spring,” Whitmer said, noting that the virus is spread throughout the state with less flexibility to move patients around.

The Michigan Health & Hospital Association supported the extended restrictions after encouraging Whitmer to do so earlier today to prevent further straining hospital capacity.

“While hospitalization numbers have started to stabilize, dozens of hospitals throughout the state are reporting critical staffing issues that impact the delivery of care for all patients — not just those needing COVID-19 care,” MHA CEO Brian Peters said in a statement. “We are thankful that our state’s leadership is responding to data and will continue strategic measures aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19.” 

The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association and the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association each said they are “disappointed” in the extended restrictions and urged lawmakers to support a financial relief package.

“The MLBA has been advocating for financial assistance for the industry both federally and at the state level,” said MLBA Executive Director Scott Ellis. “With the Michigan legislature leaving for break after next week, something has to be done as soon as possible.”

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