During a Monday afternoon press briefing, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered a 12-day extension of her administration's "Pause to Save Lives" policy. Many Michigan businesses, all indoor dining, and in-person instruction at all high schools are now closed until at least December 20.
"Hope is on the horizon, but we need an additional 12 days to determine the full impact of the Thanksgiving holiday on our efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus," Whitmer said. "This is all about protecting our families and front-line workers until we eradicate this virus once and for all."
The announcement comes as the nation has seen a recent uptick in the number of coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. State medical professionals advising Whitmer have suggested publicly that the state's infection rate is "alarmingly high" and that there is a "surge" of deaths as a result.
In addition to indoor dining, all high school sports are suspended, and casinos, bowling alleys, and movie theaters are closed.
Even though the new order is set to expire five days before Christmas, Whitmer is urging all residents of the state to forgo holiday gatherings.
Republicans in the state have joined representatives from the restaurant and bar association in objecting to the order.
"The restaurant industry is comprised of creative and resilient individuals, but for a growing number of them, this latest pause is the cause of their lost livelihood and well-being," Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association CEO Justin Winslow said.
State Senator Aric Nesbitt agreed, saying the governor had not provided any clear explanation of safety protocol that would be necessary to reopen.
"We need to stay safe, yet people should have the opportunity to work and provide for their families," Nesbitt said. "Watching small businesses continue to go bankrupt through no fault of their own is heartbreaking."