Casinos in Michigan will become one of a number of businesses to be affected after the state’s Department of Health and Human Services issued a new emergency order amid rising COVID-19 infection rates.
The three week pause, which begins on Wednesday 18 November, primarily targets indoor social gatherings and other group activities, with casinos joined by movie theatres and group exercise classes in being temporarily halted, however, gyms will remain open for individual exercise with strict safety measures in place.
Indoor residential gatherings will be limited to two households at any one time, with bars and restaurants only permitted to open for outdoor dining, carry-out and delivery only.
Professional and college sports meeting extraordinary standards for risk mitigation may continue without spectators, however, all other organised sports must stop. Colleges and high schools may proceed with remote learning, but must end in-person classes.
“In the spring, we listened to public health experts, stomped the curve, and saved thousands of lives together. Now, we must channel that same energy and join forces again to protect our families, frontline workers and small businesses,” explained Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
“Right now, there are thousands of cases a day and hundreds of deaths a week in Michigan, and the number is growing. If we don’t act now, thousands more will die, and our hospitals will continue to be overwhelmed. We can get through this together by listening to health experts once again and taking action right now to slow the spread of this deadly virus.”
It is stipulated that the order “is not a blanket stay-home action like in the spring,” with certain work activities that cannot be performed at home able to proceed. Outdoor gatherings, outdoor dining and parks remain open.
Furthermore, individual activities with distancing and face marks are still allowed, such as retail shopping; public transit; personal-care services such as haircuts, by appointment; and individualised exercise at a gym, with extra spacing needed between machines.
“The data we are seeing is alarming. COVID-19 is impacting every area of our state. Our healthcare systems are becoming overwhelmed, and our contact tracers cannot keep up,” said Dr Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS.
“If we do not act now, we risk thousands more deaths, and even more people having long-term health consequences. The actions we are taking today are the best opportunity we have to get this virus under control.”