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Michigan Gov. Whitmer: It's working; indoor dining returns Feb. 1

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer provides an update on Michigan's response to COVID-19 on Jan. 22, 2021. (WWMT/Michigan)
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer provides an update on Michigan's response to COVID-19 on Jan. 22, 2021. (WWMT/Michigan)
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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Friday that the restrictions worked, COVID-19 infection rates are declining, and indoor dining can resume Feb. 1.

However, "we're not out of the woods yet," Whitmer said. "We need vaccines, and we need everybody to keep wearing their masks."

“The efforts we have made together to protect our families, frontline workers and hospitals have dramatically reduced cases and we have saved lives," Whitmer said during a Friday news briefing on the state's efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.


Whitmer also said that everyone who wants to get a vaccine will get one, but the timing depends on when the state receives more. She also admitted that the process of getting vaccines to residents has been bumpy.

"Right now we're getting as many vaccines for a week for the state as we want for a day," Whitmer said, encouraging Michiganders to be patient.

"This is like a locomotive. It is bumpy and it's fits and starts at the beginning and it's cumbersome; but we're gathering steam," Whitmer said. "You've seen incredible strides. Our local departments of public health are doing incredible work."

She said looking at the vaccines Michigan has control over, as opposed to those sent directly to pharmacies, Michigan is n a very strong position.

"I'm proud of the work we've done. It doesn't mean it's perfect it doesn't mean that its seamless, but we've made great strides," she said.

She said it's important too, to look at the plan; the state has the capacity to do more.

"We have the confidence in our plan to do 50,000 vaccinations a day," Whitmer said. "We're getting 60,000 a week at this juncture and that's the frustration."

She also said more vaccines coming online, too. Couple with more purchases of the current vaccine, she said, a lot of this will be happening fast pretty soon. Still, she encouraged patience.

"Make your reservation when you have the opportunity," Whitmer said. "Some of those reservations will be a couple weeks out or longer, but we will get to everyone. That is my solemn vow, that everyone who wants a vaccine is going to get one."

Indoor dining

"Now, we are confident that starting Feb. 1, restaurants can resume indoor dining with safety measures in place,” Whitmer said.

The new order, which expires Feb. 21, opens indoor dining at restaurants with certain requirements; concessions at casinos, movie theaters and stadiums; personal services requiring mask removal; and non-residential gatherings of up to 10 people from two households. Restaurants and bars must keep crowds at 25% of capacity with a maximum of 100 people. A curfew would also be set for 10 p.m.

Whitmer also said Michigan was in a stronger position that other states.

"Michigan continues to be a national leader in fighting this virus, and we must continue working to keep it that way," Whitmer said. "One of the most important things Michiganders can do is to make a plan to get the safe and effective vaccine when it’s available to you. And as always, mask up and maintain six feet of social distancing. We will end this pandemic together.”

Watch as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says indoor dining is a go for Feb. 1.


Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state's chief medical executive, was scheduled to join Whitmer for the briefing.

She said hospitalizations are down, and the protocols are working.

“We are pleased to see the improvements in case rates, hospitalizations and percent positivity that have allowed us to reopen more activities,” Khaldun said. “However, we must remain vigilant, especially since we now have a new more easily transmitted variant of this virus present in our state. This is not the time to let our guard down and Michiganders should minimize their risk by avoiding gatherings, wearing masks properly, social distancing and making a plan to get their vaccine when it is their turn.”

Khaldun and state health officials said:

  • Hospital capacity dedicated to COVID-19 patients has seen a seven-week decline. Capacity as of Friday was at 9.9% for beds with COVID-19 patients. The peak was 19.6% on Dec. 4, 2020.
  • Overall case rates are at 225 per million. Case rates peaked at 740 cases per million Nov. 14, plateaued after a decline to 239 on Christmas Day; then began a decline. That decline has been in place for 11 days.

Economic plan

On Tuesday, Whitmer announced the launch of the Michigan COVID Recovery Plan, which focuses on vaccine distribution, economic recovery and getting students back to in-classroom learning. During Friday's briefing, she encouraged Michigan lawmakers to approve the plan.

“To help grow and strengthen our economy, we must provide crucial support for our families, small businesses, and frontline workers,” Whitmer said. “The MI COVID Recovery Plan will help small businesses get through the winter, help us put more shots in arms and ramp up vaccine distribution, and get our kids back on track in school. It’s the right thing to do to protect public health and jumpstart our economy, and I’m ready to work with the legislature to get it done.”

Part of the plan includes allowing restaurants and other venues to delay some required tax payments.

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She also encouraged Michiganders to support local restaurants by buying gift cards and getting takeout a couple times a week.

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