91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Whitmer hopes to allow re-opening of indoor dining before mid-January

Gretchen Whitmer at a podium

Governor Gretchen Whitmer won’t necessarily wait for January 15 to lift current COVID-19 restrictions.

That’s when a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services order expires.

Whitmer said Tuesday the restrictions could be lifted sooner than that. But she says that’s only if data show there’s no major community spread following winter holiday gatherings.

“We’re hopeful that Michiganders do what we did over Thanksgiving – didn’t travel as much, didn’t gather as much, didn’t contribute to as much spread. And if that is the case, we could take more aggressive steps to re-engage right after the first of the year, and that’s what I’m hopeful happens.”

She says that would include allowing restaurants to re-open their dining rooms.

“And it’s my real hope that if we do Christmas and New Year’s like we did Thanksgiving that we can re-engage at some level and get them back [to] in-person dining.”

The governor said the data so far show the “pause” in some economic sectors is slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan.

She said the best way to continue on that path is to avoid large holiday gatherings and continue to wear masks in public settings.

Whitmer said she’s watching hospitalization data, and infection rates, as well as how and where the coronavirus is spreading.

“The order was written to go through January 15th taking all these things into consideration, acknowledging that if we are in a strong enough position, we can take that step earlier and that’s something that I’m hopeful we do.” 

Want to support reporting like this? Consider making a gift to Michigan Radio today.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.