Gov. Whitmer reopens in-person learning, entertainment venues, with masking in place

MICHIGAN — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Friday afternoon that students across the state could return to in-person learning in the next few weeks. The order includes openings allowed effective Dec. 21 of theaters, movie theaters, stadiums, arenas, bowling centers, bingo halls and arcades, as well as outdoor group fitness and non-contact sports.

Still closed by the order is indoor dining and bar service, night clubs, indoor sports and contact sports except professional sports, trampoline parks, water parks and indoor group fitness classes.

“We are bending the curve faster than other states that have not enforced protocols,” Whitmer said. “Indiana is experiencing a spread [of COVID-19] so significant that they have had to cancel all elective surgeries in their hospitals to make room for COVID patients. We haven’t had to do that in Michigan because we have been taking it seriously and following the science. Because of the hard work of the people in Michigan have done in the last few weeks we can lift some of the protocols we have put in place.”

The order comes officially from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

On Monday, schools now the choice to allow in-person learning in classrooms for all students from pre-school through twelfth grade.

“Making this change allows schools to consider locally if offering face to face learning works for their communities,” Whitmer said.

Whitmer said she had asked colleges and univerisites across the state to delay the winter semester beginning in-person courses until Jan. 19, with the matching delayed move-in date of Jan. 16.

“I’m pleased to say that most have indicated they will push back their calendar,” Whitmer said. “I appreciate their partnership.”

Whitmer next addressed indoor venues where attendees can stay masked and socially distanced. She named movie theaters, stadiums and bowling alleys specifically.

“[They] are permitted to reopen without concessions,” Whitmer said. “The key is keeping the masks on.”

Outdoor group fitness classes and outdoor no-contact sports will also be able to resume.

Whitmer said at the end of her address that this order was her last address before Christmas.

The full MDHHS order may be found at Michigan.gov/coronavirus

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