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

Jan 13, 2021

File photo Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Nov. 5, 2020
Credit Associated Press

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.