With daily Covid stats in Michigan continuing to stack up at alarming rates, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday announced a 12-day extension of restrictions on indoor dining and in-person classes that will run through Dec. 20. The current three-week extension was set to expire on Tuesday.
"Hope is on the horizon, but we need an additional 12 days to determine the full impact of the Thanksgiving holiday on our efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus," Whitmer said. "This is all about protecting our families and front-line workers until we eradicate this virus once and for all."
The extension comes as little surprise and is bound to cause more economic hardship for the troubled restaurant industry.
"We aren’t surprised by the governor’s decision to extend Director [Robert] Gordon’s MDHHS Order today, but we remain exceptionally disappointed," Justin Winslow, head of the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association, said in a statement. "We firmly believe there is a better approach – one followed by 45 other states – that doesn’t use blunt force closure of a single industry to resolve a shared crisis. We maintain that a more nuanced approach that allows for limited indoor capacity with a curfew will result in greater compliance, better health outcomes and substantially reduced economic fallout."
Whitmer said the state will continue to monitor statistics and make further determinations on restrictions in the future. State officials in attendance at Monday's press conference expressed concerns about gathering at holidays and the impact it might have on the spread of the virus.
Whitmer's announcement came hours after the Michigan Health & Hospital Association urged her to extend the three-week pause.
"To see meaningful change that truly alleviates stress on the healthcare system, we urge the state to extend protections through the holiday season," the industry group says in a statement.