Restaurants could reopen early

The governor says restrictions on indoor dining at restaurants and bars could be lifted before current orders expire on January 15.

New COVID-19 infection numbers have been steadily declining since the state imposed new restrictions on many activities just before Thanksgiving. That’s giving hope that those restrictions could be rescinded before they’re set to expire.

“This kind of step back that we have done is working and our numbers are starting to come down,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer during an interview with TV6 in Marquette.

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The state health department issued restrictions on schooling, public gatherings, most indoor entertainment, and indoor dining on November 18. That was extended on December 8. Most restrictions expired December 20, except for dining restrictions, which are set to end January 15.

New COVID-19 infections peaked at an average of 7,200 new infections per day in November and have declined to about 2,800 per day on Saturday. Deaths have also declined from an average of 116 per day in mid-December to about 81 per day on Saturday.

Health officials still warn that we’re not out of the woods yet. Vaccinations are moving slowly and are limited to medical workers and nursing home residents for the time being. Experts are also waiting to see if there is a surge of new infections following the Christmas and New Year’s Eve holidays.

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