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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says Michigan is “in the worst part of” the coronavirus pandemic (Nov. 12)

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A new series of statewide restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 start Wednesday.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a new public health order on Sunday, aimed at curtailing spread of COVID-19 — in large part by preventing social gatherings, which health officials say are a major contributor to the spread.

The new order suspends in-person dining at bars and restaurants, moves high school and college-level classes online and closes movie theaters, bowling alleys and other entertainment venues.

The new restrictions will last for three weeks, ending Dec. 9.

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Whitmer said the order is necessary to stop the ongoing and growing spread of COVID-19.

“As hard as this is, we all need to make short-term sacrifices for a long-term gain,” Whitmer said Sunday night.

More: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announces new COVID limitations for Michigan starting Wednesday

MDHHS reported Saturday a record 7,072 people tested positive for the coronavirus and an additional 65 people died from COVID-19 statewide. Since March 251,813 people in Michigan have tested positive and 7,994 have died.

Locally, 6,452 people have tested positive for the coronavirus and 85 have died in Ingham County, 1,930 have tested positive and 23 have died in Eaton County and 1,877 have tested positive and 18 have died in Clinton County, according to the most recent figures from local health departments.

Here’s a quick look at what the new order means for Michiganders.

Are all gatherings prohibited?

No. The order still allows gatherings of two households, with a maximum of 10 people in an indoor space.

Whitmer and state health officials still advise people to avoid all gatherings, even the small ones still allowed under this order.

What can stay open?

Retail stores are permitted to keep their doors open for the next three weeks, but must operate at 30% capacity. Face coverings, social distancing and employee health screenings are still required.

Personal services, including hair salons and barbershops, can still welcome customers by appointment with safety precautions.

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Cody Turner, of DeWItt, enjoys a lunch outside on the patio at El Azteco on Tuesday, June 30, 2020, in Lansing. Caution tape surrounds tables that are not in use in compliance with COVID-19 restrictions. (Photo: Nick King/Lansing State Journal)

Are Michigan restaurants allowed to stay open?

Sort of. Restaurants and bars can continue to remain open however only offering takeout, delivery and outdoor dining.

The order only halts indoor dining for the three-week period.

Can school still be in person?

High schools, colleges and universities must suspend in-person classes and move to remote learning for the next three weeks.

Kindergarten through 8th grades can still hold in-person classes, with precautions. Individual school districts may still choose to move classes for those grade levels online.

Are sports still happening?

Some. Professional and college-level sports are still allowed with strict testing protocols already required by leagues and conferences.

High school and other youth sports must pause for the duration of the order.

What businesses must close?

The order targets entertainment and recreation-focused businesses that are most likely to draw large groups.

The order specifically mentions live theatres, movie theaters, stadiums, arenas, bowling centers, ice skating rinks, indoor water parks, bingo halls, casinos and arcades.

While gyms can still offer individual classes, group fitness centers and classes must end for three weeks begin Wednesday.

Contact reporter Craig Lyons at 517-377-1047 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @craigalyons.

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