Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) has extended the restaurant lockdown in Michigan once again amidst the coronavirus pandemic, upping her original “three week pause” to twelve long weeks.

Whitmer Extends Restaurant Lockdown 

Whitmer announced on Thursday that she was extending her mandated closure of in-person dining at restaurants and bars until at least February 1.

“The efforts we have made together to protect our families, frontline workers and small business owners are working,” Whitmer said, according to NBC6.

Whitmer first announced this “pause” back in November, and this marks the third time that she has extended it.

“While there has been a slight uptick in our percent positivity rate, our cases per million have plateaued and more hospital beds are becoming available,” she said. “Today, we are confident that MDHHS [Michigan Department of Health and Human Services] can lift some of the protocols that were previously in place.”

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“We are reopening cautiously because caution is working to save lives,” added MDHHS Director Robert Gordon told reporters.

 “The new order allows group exercise and non-contact sports, always with masks and social distancing, because in the winter it’s not as easy to get out and exercise and physical activity is important for physical and mental health,” he continued. “We are glad that we made it through the holidays without a big increase in numbers, but there are also worrying signs in the new numbers.”

Restaurants Fire Back

The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association (MRLA), however, has already fired back at Whitmer for extending this lockdown for a third time.

“The governor’s continuation of this pause without a plan — now expanding to 75 days — is without parallel in the nation in terms of its unwillingness or inability to provide leadership to a decimated industry and its workforce,” MRLA President and CEO Justin Winslow said in a statement.

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“There are more than 100,000 unemployed hospitality workers and thousands of small operators on the edge of bankruptcy all waiting for hope and direction, and once again it did not come,” he added.

“This is unacceptable and we should all demand more accountability,” Winslow continued. “Michigan stands alone as the only remaining statewide closure of dining rooms without a discernible, data-driven path to reopen and fully reintegrate in the economy.”

Whitmer has become infamous among many for enacting some of the strictest. It remains to be seen whether she will extend her lockdowns for a fourth time next month.

This piece was written by James Samson on January 15, 2021. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

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