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Michigan restaurants will be able to open for dining Feb. 1

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Nov. 5, 2020 photo
Associated Press
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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will announce Wednesday that Michigan restaurants can reopen for indoor dining on Feb. 1, two-and-a-half months after an order to close amid a surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

The governor’s office confirmed the pending announcement following a statement issued on social media by the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association. The current order prohibiting indoor dine-in service is due to expire Friday but will be extended.

The fate of other off-limit activities such as organized sports was not immediately known. Whitmer will have news conference later Wednesday.

Michigan is among just a few states to allow no indoor restaurant dining and is the only one without a detailed plan on how and when reopening can occur, according to the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association.

Since the Whitmer administration closed restaurants and bars, effective Nov. 18, it has let high schools resume in-person instruction and has allowed entertainment businesses to reopen with restrictions. State officials are watching three key COVID-19 metrics.

Over nearly two months, the statewide seven-day case average is down to 3,349, from 6,687. The positivity rate is 8.2%, a drop from 9.8%, according to The COVID Tracking Project. Nearly 13% of hospital beds had virus patients as of last week, a decrease from about 20% a month before.