Michigan has extended its existing COVID-19 public health restrictions for another month, and mask requirements will soon apply to children as young as two years old.
Parents and caregivers must make a good-faith effort to keep masks on younger kids under new rules that will go into effect April 26th. The order also extends until May 24th the 50-percent occupancy limit and distancing requirements at restaurants and event centers, as well as testing for participants in youth sports.
The order was issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services with the backing of Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The governor is calling on people to get vaccinated as soon as possible, and to follow mask and distancing orders. But she has so far resisted pressure – including advice from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- to re-impose tougher restrictions amid a surge in COVID cases in Michigan.
The MDHHS decision was endorsed, though, by the Michigan Restaurant and Hospitality Association.
“While the order maintains limits on occupancy in restaurants, banquets and event centers, it very importantly opts not to close them a third time as has been suggested by some,” said association CEO Justin Winslow in a written statement.
But Michigan Chief Medical Executive Joneigh Khaldun acknowledged the situation is dire.
“We are still very much fighting this pandemic and seeing concerning trends in new cases and hospitalizations,” she said in a press release. “Michiganders need to be using every tool in our toolbox to keep hospitalizations down. Just because something is open and legal does not mean you should be doing it.”