Photo courtesy the Office of the Governor Photo courtesy the Office of the Governor

Following some of the worst days of the coronavirus pandemic to date, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer instituted three weeks of new protections.

LANSING, Mich.—Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a new “three week pause” across the state of Michigan on Sunday night, aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan.

The epidemic (emergency) order, which begins on Wednesday and runs through December 8, will shut down several major operations across the state, including:

  • Dine-in restaurants and bars
  • Theaters, stadiums and arenas
  • In-person education at universities, colleges and high schools
  • Organized non-professional sports
  • Bowling centers, ice skating and indoor water parks
  • Bingo halls, casinos and arcades
  • Group fitness classes

Employees who are able to work from home are also strongly encouraged to do according to Whitmer.

“Our response is strongest if we are unified and all in this together,” Whitmer said at Sunday’s press conference.

READ MORE: Michigan Just Restored Its Coronavirus Protections. Here’s What You Need to Know.

“We cannot control the fact that we’re already seeing a surge in cases but what we can control is how we join forces to combat our common enemy, COVID-19.”

The goal is to stop the rise in cases before numbers grow even larger.

“Our collective action can control the severity, and length of this wave if we all do our part. A leading model shows that if we don’t take action now, we could soon see 1,000 deaths per week in Michigan,” the governor added. 

Whitmer is drawing on her experience during spring’s outbreak to help “stomp the curve” a second time around.

“In the spring, we listened to public health experts, stomped the curve, and saved thousands of lives together. Now, we must channel that same energy and join forces again to protect our families, frontline workers and small businesses,” Whitmer said in a press release.

RELATED: Michigan Surges to 200,000 Confirmed Coronavirus Cases

“Right now, there are thousands of cases a day and hundreds of deaths a week in Michigan, and the number is growing. If we don’t act now, thousands more will die, and our hospitals will continue to be overwhelmed. We can get through this together by listening to health experts once again and taking action right now to slow the spread of this deadly virus.”

The time is now to stop the spread according to Dr. Joneigh Khaldoun, the Chief Medical Executive and Chief Deputy Director for Health for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

“This is not like the cold or the flu, and we simply cannot let this virus continue to spread out of control like it is now,” she said. “Our case rates are rising at an alarming rate, overall we’re at a case rate of 513 cases per million, and the percent of tests that are coming back positive is 12.5%,” she added.

Models show that as many as 20,000 Michiganders could die after contracting COVID-19 between now and February if the curve is not flattened according to Dr. Khaldoun.

“By following the order and guidance tonight we can save thousands, keep our hospitals open, and avoid even more severe steps in the near future,” said Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon.

Several Businesses Remain Open

The state also announced that several businesses will remain open during the three-week period, including the following:

  • Childcare services
  • Preschool through 8th grade
  • Indoor gatherings with a recommended two household, 10 people limit
  • Public transit systems
  • Personal grooming services including hair salons and barber shops
  • Manufacturing, construction and other work that cannot be done remotely 
  • Outdoor gatherings with a 25-person limit

For up-to-date information on the coronavirus in Michigan including statistics, safety measures and more, visit www.Michigan.gov/coronavirus. Full text of the emergency order can be read here.