MDHHS lowers indoor gathering limit, Traverse City region set back to Phase 4

Oct 29, 2020

Governor Gretchen Whitmer in Traverse City
Credit Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

The Michigan Department of Health & Human Services is lowering the number of people allowed at indoor gatherings and sending the Traverse City region back to Phase 4 of the MISafeStart Plan. The move comes as the state sees record-high COVID cases.

Besides the new indoor gathering limit -- which is set to 50 people -- restaurants can seat no more than 6 people at a table, and must take down the names and contact information of customers to help with contact tracing.

The move also beefs up enforcement efforts for anyone breaking these orders. Violations are punishable by up to $1,000 and may also be treated as a misdemeanor crime, according to a Michigan State Police press release.

Michigan had over 167,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday, but Governor Gretchen Whitmer wouldn’t say whether the state is headed toward another shutdown.

She did say MDHHS could keep tightening restrictions if cases rise. Whitmer added that she wants the legislature to put together legislation in the meantime.

“[But] the legislature has not been around in the past couple of months, they’re campaigning,” she said while speaking at a campaign event for State House candidate Dan O’Neil.

State Representative Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg) is one of few Republicans in the house who supported Whitmer’s executive orders.

He says the legislature could put together a bill by the end of the year--- but right now, everyone’s focused on next week’s results.

“After the election … we will probably prioritize a few things to get done by year end, and one of them should be to continue to work with the governor,” Inman said.