State announces new COVID restrictions

As COVID surges, the health department is restricting public gatherings and requiring restaurants to take customers' contact information.

Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) on Thursday announced new rules meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the state.

The new orders limit the number of people who can gather indoors for events like weddings and conferences. The limit is now 50 people. Previously, the state had allowed groups of up to 500.

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Another rule passed down Thursday limits the number of people who can be seated together at a restaurant to six. It also requires restaurants to record the contact information of all customers in order to expedite contact tracing should it be necessary.

MDHHS Director Robert Gordon called it a “very dangerous time” for Michigan. But he still struck a hopeful tone.

“We know so much more than we did in March” when the pandemic began. “We know about the power of masks, and that enables people to engage in a range of activities that weren’t possible then. So I do think we are better positioned by the science and the experience to live more fully in a way that we couldn’t in March.”

Members of the restaurant industry aren’t happy about the new rules. Justin Winslow, the CEO and president of the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association, said the MDHHS’s mandates aren’t necessary.

The “well-intended effort is more likely to result in job loss, foreclosure and fewer restaurants than it will prevent transmission,” he said.

You can read more on Bridge Michigan.

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