Casinos to Reopen, Northern Bars Closed to Indoor Service

Casino owners in Detroit have been asking the governor for weeks to allow them to reopen to customers.

On Wednesday, they got their wish – sort of.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Wednesday signed executive orders that allow the three Detroit casinos to open Aug. 5, but their occupancy will be limited to 15% capacity. Casinos must also, among other things, conduct a daily entry screening protocol for customers and employees, temperature screening. Casinos must require patrons to wear a face covering, except while eating or drinking or for identification purposes. 

The orders Whitmer signed — Executive Order 2020-160 and Executive Order 2020-161 — amend Michigan’s Safe Start Order and include revised workplace safeguards. Under the Safe Start Order, starting July 31, statewide indoor gatherings will be limited to 10 people and bars will be closed for indoor service across the state, including in Regions 6 and 8 (the Upper Peninsula and the Traverse City area).

“As we see COVID-19 cases continue to rise, Michiganders cannot afford to drop our guard. We must take every step possible to saave lives, protect the brave men and women on the front lines, and avoid overwhelming our healthcare system while we continue to combat COVID-19,” Whitmer said. “After seeing a resurgence in cases connected to social gatherings across the state, we must further limit gatherings for the health of our community and economy. By taking these strong actions, we will be better positioned to get our children back into classrooms and avoid a potentially devastating second wave.”

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COVID-19’s resurgence is closely associated with super-spreading events at large social gatherings, often attended by young people. An outbreak at a Lansing bar has resulted in 187 infections; more than 50 cases have been linked to a single house party in Saline; and a sandbar party at Torch Lake over the July 4 weekend led to at least 43 confirmed cases.

Therefore, Executive Order 2020-160 limits statewide indoor gatherings to 10 people or less and, across most of the state, limits outdoor gatherings to 100 (the outdoor gathering limits will remain at 250 in Regions 6 and 8).

Executive Order 2020-160 also orders that bars in every region, including those in regions 6 and 8, must close for indoor service if they earn more than 70% of their gross receipts from sales of alcoholic beverages.