Nov 15, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Michigan imposes coronavirus restrictions on schools and restaurants

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer during a rally  at Belle Isle on October 31, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gives a speech at Belle Isle in Detroit, Michigan, in October. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced Sunday new restrictions designed to combat spiking COVID-19 cases — including suspending organized sports, halting in-person classes and closing restaurants and bars to indoor dining.

Why it matters: Whitmer said Michigan was in "the worst moment of this pandemic to date," after the state confirmed a record 44,019 people new cases and 416 more deaths in the past week.

"The situation has never been more dire. We are at the precipice and we need to take some action."
— Whitmer's news conference remarks

The big picture: The restrictions that begin Wednesday are not as severe as the state's spring coronavirus lockdown, but they are sweeping.

  • Under the emergency order, in-person K-8 schooling may continue "if it can be done with strong mitigation, including mask requirements, based on discussion between local health and school officials," per a state government statement.
  • Indoor residential gatherings must be limited to two households at any one time, while outdoor gatherings will have 25-person maximum limit.

Of note: The restrictions will last through the Thanksgiving holiday and up to Dec. 8.

  • "If you are considering spending Thanksgiving with people outside of your household, I urge you to reconsider," Whitmer said.
  • "As hard as it is not seeing [family] this Thanksgiving, imagine how much harder it would be if you weren’t able to see them for a future holiday ever again."

By the numbers: Some 8,000 people have died from COVID-19 and the state has confirmed over 251,000 people have tested positive for the virus.

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