Gov. Whitmer extends COVID-19 restrictions by 12 days
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-Mich.) announced on Monday that her state’s indoor dining and in-person classes restrictions will stay in effect for 12 more days up through December 20, followed by “cautious re-engagement” in combatting fight the growing spread of the novel coronavirus, The Detroit Free Press reports.
“Right now, 79% of all hospital beds are occupied—the hospital capacity issue that we are dealing with right now is different than it was in the spring,” Whitmer said. “Because in the spring, different parts of our state had different COVID numbers, patients could be transferred from one area that had […] higher COVID numbers to an area that had lower COVID numbers before they ask for staff to come in and help in places that were being overwhelmed.”
Like many other states, Michigan is facing a shortage of space in its hospitals with the increased caseload.
“Unfortunately, that is not the case right now because hospitals across Michigan are all filling up,” Whitmer added. “Hospitals across the country are all filling up.”
Michigan health officials announced three-week-long restrictions on November 15 in response to the mounting number of COVID-19 cases. These guidelines, which went into effect on November 18, were originally supposed to expire at the end of the day Tuesday, The Free Press reports.
“We have made progress during this three-week pause. Cases and mobility have started to level off,” Whitmer stated.
On top of public mask mandates and gathering limits, the restrictions outlawed indoor dining at restaurants and bars, effectively shuttered entertainment venues such as movie theaters and bowling alleys, banned in-person classes for high schools and colleges, and temporarily suspended high school sports, The Free Press writes.
Outdoor gatherings of 25 people or less are permitted while retail stores and salons can stay open as long as they follow Michigan’s face mask order. Unlike the restrictions from March and April, these new restrictions will not be a complete economic shutdown.
According to the state’s data, over the course of Sunday and Monday, the average number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases has been 4,675 per day.
Furthermore, Dave Boucher and Kristen Jordan Shamus of The Free Press write that the move to extend guidelines implemented in the middle of last month will be met with fierce criticism from businesses and Republicans, who control both chambers in the state legislature.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.