Today Governor Whitmer announced a new MDHHS order, which will allow bars and restaurants to open at 50% capacity, up to 100 people, whichever is less, and bumps the curfew from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. All other requirements including mask wearing, social distancing and contact tracing also remain.
In our conversations with the governor’s office, the MLBA stressed the importance of moving to 50% with no arbitrary cap. We are disappointed the 100-person limit was included in the order and we will push to have this removed. As COVID numbers continue to drop across the board, we will continue our fight to get establishments open at 100% capacity with no curfew.
With that said, we will continue to update everyone as more information comes out. Below is a list of relevant items from the order, as well as a press release we sent out following the announcement.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
This order takes effect on March 5, 2021, at 12:01 AM, at which time the February 4, 2021, order entitled Gatherings and Face Mask Order is rescinded. This order remains in effect through April 19, 2021, at 11:59 PM.
3. Gathering restrictions for entertainment facilities, recreational facilities, and food service establishments.
a. Gatherings are prohibited at entertainment facilities and recreational facilities unless:
b. Gatherings are prohibited at food service establishments unless:
c. Gatherings at non-tribal casinos may not exceed 30% of total occupancy limits established by the State Fire Marshal or a local fire marshal.
9. Contact tracing requirements for particular gatherings.
c. All dine-in food service establishments must maintain accurate records of the names and phone numbers of patrons who purchase food for consumption on the premises, and the date and time of entry.
LANSING, MI – In a press conference this afternoon, Governor Whitmer announced a new MDHHS epidemic order, which ups the current 25 percent capacity restriction for bars and restaurants to 50 percent and pushes back the curfew from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. beginning this Friday. The new order retains the 100-person cap from the previous order.
“Moving the capacity limit from 25 percent to 50 percent is a step in the right direction, but we are truly disappointed that the 100-person cap will carry over,” Ellis said. “Larger establishments with greater capacity limits have more space to spread patrons out. If people are abiding by social distancing rules, there’s no need for an arbitrary cap for any establishment regardless of size.”
Throughout the pandemic, many bar and restaurant owners have felt their industry has been unfairly targeted by shutdowns and other restrictions without sufficient evidence to justify these actions.
“Bars and restaurant have now been open for more than a month at 25 percent capacity, and in that time, COVID numbers across the board have continued to fall,” Ellis said. “Our industry is not a significant contributor to the spread of the virus and we look forward to expanding dine-in service safely and continuing to prove our establishments are safe.”
The new MDHHS order carries over previous restrictions and safety measures that bars and restaurants must continue to abide by – including mask wearing until seated, social distancing restrictions and gathering size limits.
“It has been tough for places to survive at 25 percent capacity and as we move to 50 percent, it’s important that the public knows we aren’t in full operation and to be respectful of that,” Ellis said. “Establishments are still operating with reduced staff and limited seating, so be mindful of wait times and don’t linger when you’re finished eating and drinking.”