Gov, MDHHS Announce 50% Capacity, 100-Person Limit, 11 p.m. Curfew for Bars/Restaurants


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.

Thank you.



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on March 5, 2021, at 12:01 AM, at which time the February 4, 2021, order entitled Gatherings and Face Mask Order is rescinded.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:
1. Venues and activities held at those venues comply with masking and distancing requirements in this subsection. Venues that cannot consistently adhere to these requirements (e.g., water parks, dance floors at a nightclub, or children’s indoor playgrounds inasmuch as staff are not present to prevent physical contact) may not be open.
A. Patrons must remain masked at all times, except when eating or drinking in designated areas;
B. Groups of patrons participating in activities together (such as those seated together at a concert or movie, or bowling in the same lane or group of lanes) must not exceed 25 persons indoors, or 300 persons outdoors;
C. Patrons must be prevented from mingling with or engaging in physical contact with persons outside their group; and
D. For sports practice and competition, participants must comply with the restrictions set forth in section 6;
2. If participating in stationary activities, groups are spaced or seated at least 6 feet apart. If participating in non-stationary activities, groups maintain a consistent 6 feet of distance from other groups at all times;
3. Consumption of food or beverages is permitted only where patrons are seated, groups of patrons are separated by at least 6 feet, no more than 6 patrons are seated at a table, and groups of patrons do not intermingle;
4. Venues that are also food service establishments, as a condition of offering food or beverages, ensure their designated dining areas comply with all requirements in subsection (b);
5. Venues abide by the following density limitations:
A. Where applicable, occupancy must not exceed 50% of the limits established by the State Fire Marshal or a local fire marshal; and
B. Groups must remain at least 6 feet apart at all times;
6. Venues abide by the following maximum capacity limitations:
A. At indoor stadiums and arenas, no more than 375 patrons may be gathered at venues with a seating capacity under 10,000, and no more than 750 patrons may be gathered at venues with a seating capacity of over 10,000;
B. For indoor entertainment and recreation facilities, no more than 300 patrons may be gathered within any distinct space within the venue;
C. For outdoor entertainment and recreation facilities, no more than 1000 patrons may be gathered.

b. Gatherings are prohibited at food service establishments unless:
1. Consumption of food or beverages is permitted only in a designated dining area where patrons are seated, groups of patrons are separated by at least 6 feet, no more than 6 patrons are seated together (at a table, booth, or group of fixed seats), and groups of patrons do not intermingle;
2. Patrons are not permitted to gather in common areas in which people can congregate, dance, or otherwise mingle;
3. In the event that an employee of a food service establishment is confirmed positive for COVID-19 or shows principal symptoms of COVID-19 while at work, the food service establishment has been deep cleaned consistent with Food and Drug Administration and CDC guidance;
4. At establishments offering indoor dining:
A. The number of patrons indoors (or in a designated dining area of a multipurpose venue) does not exceed 50% of normal seating capacity, or 100 persons, whichever is less, provided, however, that this limitation does not apply to soup kitchens and shelters;
B. At food service establishments, or the designated dining area of a multipurpose venue, indoor dining is closed between the hours of 11:00 PM and 4:00 AM;
C. The venue displays, in a prominent location, the MDHHS “Dining During COVID-19” brochure.

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.”

COVID-19 Resources
We want to be your number one resource when it comes to remaining open. The hospitality industry is the most regulated industry and we already practice safety and hygiene procedures – we are the most prepared for this reopening. It is our responsibility to keep bars and restaurants clean and virus free. With this pandemic, we must take extra care to make sure we are on top of our game. Please review the recommendations from the CDC and below for procedures and guidelines to follow with your reopening.

Liquor Liability Insurance
Trust the association that fights for your businessevery single day, not just when you need us too.

The MLBA Insurance Company is a registered captive insurance company with the State of Michigan. The mission of the company is the provide MLBA members with competitive rates by keeping the insurance system simple. Unlike most insurance companies, we don’t have to fund expensive marketing campaigns or pay middlemen.


Not a member? Sign up today!