Many of the restrictions in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 will be eased under two new Michigan Department of Health and Human Services orders that will take effect Friday.
The revised state health department orders, which ease capacity limits in restaurants and a host of other businesses while also allowing for larger indoor and outdoor gatherings, last through April 19.
State officials on Tuesday announced that restaurants, bars and retail stores will be able to operate at 50 percent indoor capacity, up from 25 percent, though the 100-person cap from the previous order remains in place. The current 10 p.m. curfew for restaurants will be moved to 11 p.m.
Casinos’ limits will jump from 15 percent to 30 percent while gyms can allow 30 percent capacity, up from 25 percent. Outdoor gatherings with up to 300 people may resume, along with an increased capacity for venues such as movie theaters, bowling alleys and sports stadiums. Indoor stadiums and arenas will be allowed have 375 people if seating capacity is less than 10,000 and 750 people if seating capacity is more than 10,000. Outdoor entertainment and recreational facilities can host up to 1,000 people.
A cap on indoor residential gatherings will be loosened slightly, to no more than 15 people from three households instead of 10 from two households.
Activities that call for close physical contact where a mask cannot be worn, such as swimming, will remain on a pause.
The state also said families will immediately be able to visit nursing homes after being tested for COVID-19, unless the facility has had an infection within the previous 14 days. Visitations had been automatically prohibited in counties with high infection rates.
“We are headed in the right direction,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Tuesday during a pandemic update. “We just want to add that people need to remain patient. We want to thank all the people of the state who have done their part so that we can now re-engage more of our economy.”
The move comes after in-person dining resumed Feb. 1 at 25 percent capacity. That was ordered to stay in place until March 29.
The Whitmer administration monitors COVID-19 case rates, testing positivity rates and hospital capacity when deciding whether to tighten or ease restrictions.