The latest order will go into effect Wednesday, just eight days before the US Thanksgiving holiday, and will remain in place for at least three weeks. Indoor residential gatherings will be limited to people from two households, and in-person high school and college classes will be suspended.
Much like a similar order announced earlier Sunday by Governor Jay Inslee in Washington state, Whitmer’s latest restrictions will ban in-person dining at restaurants, and such businesses as movie theaters, bowling alleys and casinos will be shut down. High school sporting events also will be prohibited.
“We are in the worst moment of the pandemic to date,” Whitmer said Sunday in a press briefing. “The situation has never been more dire. We are at the precipice, and we need to take some action.”
Michigan had more than 44,000 new Covid-19 cases reported in the past week, its highest weekly total to date. New records have been set for five straight weeks, and the number of adults hospitalized with the virus has tripled in the past month, to 3,220, according to state figures.
The Michigan Supreme Court ruled last month that Whitmer’s previous Covid-19 orders, which were among the strictest in the nation, violated the state’s constitution. The Democrat governor, a fierce critic of President Donald Trump, had attempted to keep her emergency orders in place without legislative input.
Since the ruling, the state health department has issued Covid-19 restrictions, including a mask mandate and a limit on indoor non-residential gatherings to 50 people. Whitmer used the same legal basis for Sunday’s order, imposing her new rules through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
“This is the worst public-health emergency our nation has faced in over a century, and our response has got to reflect the same level of urgency,” Whitmer said.
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