Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, MDHHS director announce restrictions lifted

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, and MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel spoke on Tuesday Tuesday to give an update on COVID-19, the vaccine, and announced the rollback of some restrictions connected to the virus.

During last week's update, the governor said restrictions are likely to loosen in the coming days but would not elaborate further. Thate changed during Tuesday's update.

Will Michigan COVID-19 restrictions be lifted?


The governor was joined by Khaldun, which she typically is in every weekly update, but also by Hertel. In the past, Whitmer has unveiled COVID-19 related restrictions are either added or rolled back when the MDHHS Director is present at these briefings.

"We're expecting to make more announcements on additional reengagements in the coming days. Our case numbers and public health metrics are trending in the right direction. I'm very pleased to see that," she said last week.

That held true on Tuesday as Whitmer and Hertel announced restaurants can increase capacity, venues can reopen for seating and more. 

Read about the changes announced Tuesday here.

Many businesses have called for Whitmer and the state to expand to later hours or more restaurant capacity, depending on how cases are trending in the state.

A group of Macomb County bar, restaurants, and banquet hall owners gathered together on Friday, many without masks or maintaining social distance, to announce a lawsuit seeking damages from the state caused by COVID-19 restrictions over the past 12 months.

Michigan lawmakers introduced a bill to allow bars to stay open until 4 a.m. If the bill passes, bars will be able to close later than the usual 2 a.m. when that curfew is lifted. Boukas said that extra time will allow workers more hours to earn tips.

Former MDHHS gets $155K payout

The topic of restrictions won't be the only topic brought up. The governor was also asked twice about the payout of $155,000 by the state to former MDHHS Director Robert Gordon who abruptly resigned at the end of January. 

The agreement calls for Gordon to drop all claims against the state, though it was not immediately clear what claims may have been included. It also promises legal assistance in matters relating to actions he took while director. Gordon resigned in January after signing a new employment agreement the previous October that included a $182,000 salary, according to The Detroit News and the Free Press.

The agreement for $155,506.05 is dated Feb. 22. It's signed by Gordon and Mark Totten, chief legal counsel for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. 

During the press briefing, Whitmer declined to answer why the agreement was signed, citing the terms of the deal but thanked Gordon for his service.