Michigan shuts down most indoor bar service in bid to prevent virus resurgence
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) on Wednesday signed an executive order shutting down indoor bar service across much of the state, in an effort to prevent a new surge of coronavirus.
The move makes Michigan the latest state to target bar service in recent days, joining Texas, Arizona and California.
But unlike those states, which are seeing major outbreaks, Michigan is currently in a significantly better position, but is taking action now in a bid to prevent an early uptick from getting worse.
Public health experts are increasingly pointing to bars as a major source of spread of the virus.
Whitmer also tied the move to a bid to prioritize reopening schools in the fall.
“Following recent outbreaks tied to bars, I am taking this action today to slow the spread of the virus and keep people safe,” she said in a statement. “If we want to be in a strong position to reopen schools for in-person classroom instruction this fall, then we need to take aggressive action right now to ensure we don’t wipe out all the progress we have made.”
Under the order, bars can still provide service outdoors, and Whitmer also signed a bill allowing to-go cocktails. More rural areas in northern Michigan also are excluded from the order.
The actions of Whitmer, a possible vice presidential pick for Joe Biden, have at times drawn national attention, including sometimes invoking the ire of President Trump.
After recording more than 1,500 new cases per day in early April, the state is now down to about 300 new cases per day, though cases are slowly rising, according to a New York Times tracker.
Whitmer said she did not want to jeopardize progress.
“If we open up our economy too quickly, the efforts of the last three months will be for nothing and we will have to go through this pain all over again and put our economy, health and medical system at risk,” she said.