Whitmer asks residents to avoid indoor dining, pause youth sports for two weeks

LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) – UPDATE: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the state health department are asking are asking Michigan residents to avoid eating in restaurants among other recommendations Friday.

In a press conference, which can be watched below, the governor said to slow the spread of the virus and protect more people, she is urging high schools to shift to remote learning, encouraging diners to choose outdoor dining or takeout instead of indoor seating, and recommending youth sports suspend in-person activities for the next two weeks.

This is only a recommendation and no new orders were issued Friday.

Whitmer and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun also announced Michigan will give out 5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the day Friday. Click here to see the latest vaccination statistics in Michigan.

“Administering more than five million doses of the safe and effective COVID vaccine in under four months is a big deal, but we’ve still got a lot more work to do,” said Gov. Whitmer. “Right now our numbers are alarming, and we all have a role to play to get our state moving in the right direction again. That’s why I’m renewing my call on the federal government to surge additional vaccines to our state. And it’s why I’m urging high schools and youth sports to voluntarily suspend in-person activities for the next two weeks. This is a team effort. It’s on all of us to do our part by masking up and getting vaccinated to protect ourselves and our families, so we can get back to normal. Let’s get it done.”

The State of Michigan continues to implement health policies and mitigation measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, including a statewide mask mandate, limits on indoor social gatherings larger than 25 people, expanded testing requirements for youth sports, and dozens of pop-up testing sites across the state.

“As a parent and former student-athlete myself, I understand how important athletics are to our children’s physical and mental health. However, parents and athletes need to understand the risk involved with youth sports if they choose to participate,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “We’ve seen that the younger population has played a significant role in transmission during this most recent spike. I urge youth sports organizers to pause in-person activities for the next couple weeks, and as always, mask up, wash your hands, social distance and get your safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you are able.”

Over the last few weeks, Michigan has tracked outbreaks associated with youth sports. To prevent additional outbreaks, Governor Whitmer is urging youth sports on both school-sponsored and non-school sponsored teams to suspend in-person activities, like games and practices, for the next two weeks.

The MDHHS requires testing for youth sports between the ages of 13-19, and provides testing assistance through the MI Safer Sports testing program, which expanded weekly testing protocols for athletes and teams. For all youth sports, participants must test on at least a weekly basis for COVID-19, and also before any unmasked activity.

In addition to urging youth sports to suspend in-person activities, Governor Whitmer is asking high schools to utilize virtual instruction for the next two weeks to slow the spread of COVID-19. MDHHS issued guidance to schools strongly encouraging them to enroll in the department’s testing program if they are open to in-person instruction.

Additionally, the state is offering 56 pop-up sites located throughout Michigan as part of the special program in an effort to increase access to testing for Michiganders returning from Spring Break. For more information on additional test sites, visit Michigan.gov/Coronavirustest.

For the latest information on Michigan’s response to COVID-19, please visit Michigan.gov/Coronavirus. You may also call the COVID-19 Hotline at 888-535-6136, or email [email protected].

ORIGINAL STORY: As COVID-19 cases rise in Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will give an update on the state’s coronavirus response.

A press conference started at 10:00 a.m. eastern time Friday morning. You can watch it live on TV6 & FOX UP and the TV6 & FOX UP Facebook page.

The governor’s health director said earlier this week that the state is focusing on getting more people vaccinated and not imposing new restrictions on the economy.

Whitmer says to continue mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing to slow the spread of the mutating virus.

This story will be updated following Friday’s news conference.

Copyright 2021 WLUC. All rights reserved.

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