Whitmer: Holiday gatherings are too dangerous this year

She is concerned that asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 may pass the illness to vulnerable relatives unknowingly
Published: Nov. 16, 2020 at 2:23 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said it’s just too dangerous to have holiday gatherings with family or friends who don’t live in the same house.

Whitmer told ABC12 on Monday that holiday gatherings can spread COVID-19 to vulnerable relatives and leave guilt if they get seriously ill or die. Her comments came a day after she announced new restrictions aimed at curbing the coronavirus from spreading.

“The last thing any of us would want is to ignore the best science right now and to have an event anyway, and then find out that someone unwittingly was carrying COVID, didn’t know that they were asymptomatic, and they spread it to a family member for whom it was fatal," Whitmer said. "I wouldn’t want to live with that guilt. I know no one wants to.”

Here’s a look at some of what’s changing for three weeks beginning Wednesday:

  • All in-person high school and college classes will be suspended. Younger students can continue meeting in person if their local school districts choose.
  • Movie theaters, bowling centers, ice rinks, bingo halls, casinos will be closed entirely.
  • Restaurants will not be able to offer dine-in service, but they can continue drive-through and carryout service.
  • Group fitness classes and non-professional organized sports must pause.
  • Everyone who can work from home should do so.

The order announced Sunday night is not a complete economic shutdown like Whitmer’s orders in March and April. Outdoor gatherings of 25 or fewer people are allowed while retail stores and salons can remain open subject to Michigan’s face mask order.

Work that can’t be performed at home, including manufacturing and construction, is allowed to continue.

Whitmer said it’s important for everyone to recognize how difficult life has been in the pandemic.

“Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love to host. I’d love to have generations of my family together from all over the country," Whitmer said. "And yet, right now, it’s just too dangerous.”

She said Michigan is in its most dangerous moment yet of the coronavirus, so Michiganders must join together and stop what she calls “our common enemy COVID-19.”

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