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Social Gathering Limits Extended In Latest Order Despite 'Significant Strides'

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer abruptly decided this week to permit indoor contact sports after having banned them since Nov. 18. The governor had been incrementally permitting activities she outlawed in mid-November to resume, such as in-person learning at high schools, going to the movies or bowling alleys and dining inside at a restaurant. The latter were only allowed to open on Feb. 1.

But the governor has barely budged on one restriction: social gatherings. The epidemic order that went into effect on Nov. 18 limited residential indoor gatherings to 10 people from no more than two households. Outdoor gatherings, both residential and non-residential, were limited to 25 people from three households. The only change to social gatherings restrictions since Nov. 18 came in a Jan. 22 order that permitted non-residential indoor gatherings of up to 10 people. They had been entirely prohibited before that.

Despite the significant improvements in the number of COVID cases and deaths and hospital capacity since mid-November, these same restrictions were just extended until March 29 by the latest epidemic order released by the state.

This latest order documents these “significant strides,” noting that cases are down by 78% since mid-November and weekly COVID deaths are down by 64% since mid-December.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.