Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced this week that the state’s emergency epidemic order would be extended by 12 days in order to “determine the full impact of the Thanksgiving holiday on our efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus.”
That means that the order that paused all youth and high school sports in the state for 3 weeks in mid-November will now extend until at least December 20. The original order could have expired as early as Tuesday.
The pause includes both practices and competitions, though pools can remain open for ‘individual exercise.’ College and professional sports that meet ‘extraordinary standards for risk mitigation’ can continue.
The order took effect a few days before the Michigan High School Girls’ State Swimming & Diving Championship meets were scheduled to take place on November 21. An updated plan has the swimming & diving state championships scheduled for December 23, along with the conclusion of the state volleyball and football playoffs. The MHSAA announced that if the state were to reopen Tuesday, winter sports, including boys swimming & diving, would have begun on January 4. The organization has not announced if that will change with the new extension.
Since Michigan’s initial order was put in place in mid-November, the number of new daily cases in the state have begun to flatline and then gradually decrease. On November 17, the 7-day rolling average of new coronavirus cases was 7,347. On December 9, that 7-day average had fallen to 6,509.
Deaths and hospitalizations, which typically lag behind fluctuations in new coronavirus infections, have continued to rise, though more have left hospitals than been admitted for 7 consecutive days according to New York Times data.
Other restrictions include:
- Indoor residential gatherings are limited to two households at one time (the state is encouraging families to choose a single other household for a ‘social bubble’)
- Indoor dining at bars and restaurants must stop.
- Casinos, movie theaters, and group exercise classes will be closed.
- Other entertainment venues, like bowling centers, ice skating rinks, and indoor water parks, must also close.
- Colleges and high schools are required to end all in-person classes and move to remote learning.
- Workers must work from home, unless it is impossible to do so (such as manufacturing, construction, etc.)
While the measures are a roll-back from the gradual opening that has taken place since the first peak of cases in mid-April, they won’t be as strict this time around. Among the activities allowed to continue:
- Retail sales
- Small outdoor gatherings, limited to 25 people or fewer
- Two-household gatherings
- Hair salons, barbershops, and other personal services
- Gyms and pools, for individual exercise
- Public transit will continue to operate
- Childcare services
- Funerals (with up to 25 people)
- Parks and outdoor recreation activities remain open
- Kindergarten through 8th grade in-person instruction