It's not soon enough for some, but Governor Gretchen Whitmer's operations team says restaurants in Michigan should be able to start indoor seating again on February 1st.

The state's director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Robert Gordon, says the "working plan" will include capacity limits and a curfew, and the "ultimate decision depends on COVID-19 data continuing to stabilize," according to a press release on Wednesday.

"The working plan is to open indoor dining with mitigation measures, capacity limits and a curfew on February 1, but the ultimate decision depends on data continuing to stabilize. Additional details on the reopening pathway are expected next week." - State of Michigan release

In addition, beginning this Saturday, January 16th, the state is allowing the "re-opening of additional activities. This includes indoor group exercise and non-contact sports. The new order is effective Saturday, Jan. 16 and will last until Sunday, Jan. 31." The continuing order is for Michiganders to stay masked and socially distanced.

The reason for this slight loosening of restrictions is a slow decrease in Covid-19 related infections, hospitalizations and deaths in Michigan. Here are the latest trends:

  • Hospital capacity dedicated to COVID-19 patients has been in 13-day decline, with current capacity is at 12% for beds with COVID-19 patients. Peaked at 19.6% on Tuesday, Dec. 4.
  • Overall case rates: increasing, currently at 266 cases per million. Peaked at 740 cases per million on Saturday, Nov. 14 and declined to a low of 239 on Friday, Dec. 25.
  • Positivity rate: plateauing; currently at 9.1% after reaching a low of 8.1% on Monday, Dec. 28 and increasing up to 10% since then.

The state also says colleges and universities can have students return to campus for the winter semester and restart in-person courses on Jan. 18th.

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