Michigan to Impose a Three-Week Partial Lockdown to Fight Virus

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered a three-week partial shutdown on Sunday, closing in-person dining at restaurants, limiting gatherings and requiring online learning for high schools.

“The situation has never been more dire,” the Democratic governor said. “We are at a precipice and we need to take some action.”

The directive — one of several similar orders imposed across the U.S. as the virus surges to new highs — starts Wednesday.

With Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, she urged Michiganders to make the “difficult and right choice” not to celebrate in large family gatherings.

“As hard as it is, not seeing them this Thanksgiving, imagine how much harder it would be if you couldn’t see them for a future holiday ever again,” she said.

The health order imposes restrictions on gatherings of all kinds, prohibiting dine-in service at restaurants and bars, and shutting down entertainment venues, stadiums, bowling alleys, theaters and group fitness classes.

Libraries, Gyms, Masks

Stores, libraries and museums aren’t shut under the order but they must limit capacity to 30% total occupancy and must monitor entry and exit, with markings for patrons to stand six feet apart. Pools and gyms are limited to 25% capacity, and there must be 12 feet between each workout machine.

The restrictions limit social gatherings indoors to 10 people from no more than two households and outdoor gatherings to 25 or fewer people from no more than three households. The order also requires online-only education for most high school and college students.

Regardless of the gathering, all attendees must wear masks under the order, indoors and outside.

Despite being one of the states hardest hit by Covid-19 this spring, Michigan has far surpassed its case records over the last month as hospitals have warned they will start scaling back elective procedures to preserve staff able to fight the virus. Health officials on Saturday reported a record-breaking 8,376 new cases.

The new restrictions are likely to be met with hostility and litigation. The new orders “amount to a defiant middle-finger to our movement and the half-million-plus patriots who signed the petition to pull the plug on her illegal emergency orders,” Unlock Michigan, a conservative group opposing Whitmer’s health orders, said in a statement.

Whitmer’s handling of the virus became a target for President Donald Trump at a rally in Michigan in October. “You got to get your governor to open up your state,” he told several thousand supporters. Some responded with a “lock her up” chant, to which Trump replied “lock ‘em all up.”

— With assistance by Alexander Ebert

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