Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced Friday she would be easing restaurant restrictions, just two days after Joe Biden was sworn in as president.
After returning from the festivities in Washington, DC, Whitmer said restaurants could reopen to in-person dining on February 1, the Detroit News reported.
“The pause has worked,” Whitmer claimed of the original “three week pause” announced 13 weeks ago in November.
“The efforts we have made together to protect our families, frontline workers and hospitals have dramatically reduced cases and we have saved lives. Now, we are confident that starting Feb. 1, restaurants can resume indoor dining with safety measures in place.”
Whitmer will allow restaurants to operate at 25 percent capacity and stadiums can seat up to 500 people, according to Fox 2.
“Tables must be six feet apart with no more than six people per table,” the news station said. Restaurants and bars will be ordered to close at 10:00 p.m.
The latest order, which will last through February 21, okays “the sale and consumption of concessions at restaurants, casinos, movie theaters, and stadiums. It also maintains non-residential gatherings of up to 10 people from two households.”
Just two days ago, Whitmer left the state to celebrate Joe Biden’s inauguration with others from across the country:
— Gretchen Whitmer (@gretchenwhitmer) January 20, 2021
During the holidays, Whitmer had discouraged Michiganders from traveling or spending time with family over fears the coronavirus may spread.
Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association President Justin Winslow said in a statement that the new order was “overdue news:”
It is now time for this administration to move aggressively towards a more comprehensive reintegration strategy, which includes prioritizing vaccination for the broader hospitality industry and establishing clear metrics for phased reopening to 100 percent capacity of indoor dining.
Winslow said nearly 3,000 Michigan restaurants have closed amid Whitmer’s orders.