No, Whitmer isn't re-closing dine-in restaurants in Lansing and Grand Rapids due to the coronavirus... yet


Gov. Gretchen Whitmer helped clean equipment at a Grand Rapids business. - STATE OF MICHIGAN
  • State of Michigan
  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer helped clean equipment at a Grand Rapids business.

The office of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer refuted a Fox 2 story that erroneously reported the state was dialing back the reopening of economies in Lansing and Grand Rapids due to the coronavirus.

"The Lansing region has been moved back to Phase 2 of Michigan's COVID-19 reopening plan while the Grand Rapids region is back to Phase 3," Fox 2 tweeted about one of its articles. "That means restaurants can't offer dine-in service and some retail shops may have to close again."

Whitmer spokesman Zack Pohl pushed back against the claims on Twitter.

"This report is not accurate," he wrote. "The MI Safe Start Map reflects health risk. It does not reflect the phases of reopening the economy. The Lansing and Grand Rapids regions remain in Phase 4 of the MI Safe Start plan."

Somewhat confusingly, the six phases of the MI Safe Start map are different from the six phases of the MI Safe Start plan. Pohl advised people consult the about section on the map website for guidance. Some Michiganders remained confused, however, that the level of health risk would not correlate to the stages of economic reopening.

So Whitmer isn't dialing things back in Grand Rapids and Lansing... yet. However, she has said that the state could move backwards on the MI Safe Start Plan depending on how the coronavirus crisis unfolds in Michigan, so it could still happen.

Over the past week, more than 100 coronavirus cases have been tied to Harper's Restaurant and Brew Pub in Lansing, prompting county officials to issue an emergency order further reducing restaurant capacity to 50% or fewer than 75 people, whichever is lower. A previous executive order from the state limited restaurant capacities to 50% but did not impose restrictions on the number of customers.

Some local restaurant workers have advised customers not to dine-in, saying that despite the new safety protocol, they're still worried about their safety.

At a news conference Tuesday, Whitmer noted a small uptick in coronavirus cases, but said she’s not prepared to impose new restrictions. Whitmer had hoped to allow gyms, movie theaters, and other entertainment venues to open by July 4.

"That’s not going to happen," she said. "Numbers are increasing across the state."

Whitmer also said it's too early to decide whether schools will resume in-class instruction on time.

"We've got to remain vigilant," Whitmer said. "Wearing a mask today increases the odds that we can return to in-person instruction in the fall."

Steve Neavling contributed to this report.

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