WVBI COVID-19 Update for July 2, 2020

Governor Whitmer has once again shut down indoor bar service for downstate Michigan. Her new order doesn’t change the current rules for up north. The order allows service to continue outdoors and at bars inside where 70 per cent or less of the gross receipts are from alcohol sales. The Governor says the change is the result of a few high profile virus outbreaks started at bars including Harper’s in East Lansing where more than 100 cases have been traced. The Michigan Licensed Beverage Association complained that the action hurt businesses that weren’t the cause of the problem. Executive Director Scott Ellis said in a statement. “Instead of focusing on problem bars or problem areas, she’s going to kill businesses that are abiding by all of the rules and still struggling to survive.”
Experts rank going inside a bar as one of the riskiest activities for coronavirus exposure due to increased alcohol consumption, the lack of mask-wearing while drinking and the high likelihood of people mingling or packing in tightly in enclosed spaces. But, you can avoid that if all you want is a mixed drink. The Governor signed legislation yesterday that allows bars and restaurants to sell sealed cocktails and mixed drinks to go or for delivery. No word on whether island establishments will take advantage of that option. Full disclosure: I am a partner in Whiskey Point Brewing Company, which operates a brew pup on the island.
Beaver Island school staff and local emergency responders were busy yesterday look at the governor’s back to school plan. Assuming that the Traverse City region of the state, of which Beaver Island is a part, remains at phase five of the Governor’s reopening plan, B-I-C-S will be subject to the least restrictive measures under than plan, Still, operational changes are recommended in the plan, and yesterday’s meeting was a start at work on developing those. The complete state plan is available on the WVBI COVID-19 info page.
Health Department officials in Benzie County have identified a coronavirus exposure sites at the Streetside Grille in Suttons Bay. If you were there from noon to 9 p.m. on June 27 and 28, you are asked to self-monitor for symptoms and keep away from other people as much as possible. If you experience symptoms, you should notify the Health Center or, off the island, your health department.
Daily COVID-19 data reported by state health officials has blipped down yesterday. There were 262 new cases, down from 373 yesterday, and below the running average of 311. State officials also reported four more deaths, also down from yesterday and below the current running average of 11. Total cases in Michigan now stand 64,132. Deaths total 5,951.
On the Island, no changes. Still at 96 tests run. 93 tests results are back. 92 of those are negative. Still only one back as positive. Three tests pending.
In our region, nothing new to report. Case count is steady at 260. Death toll is stable at 21. Full county by county data are in today’s script. [Otsego confirmed case count is at 104 with 10 deaths. Emmet is at 22 with two deaths. Grand Traverse is at 46 cases with six deaths. Charlevoix has 23 cases including one from the island, and two deaths. Kalkaska has 21 confirmed cases two deaths. Antrim 17 cases, still no deaths, Leelanau at 17, no deaths. And Benzie is at 10 cases and no deaths.] U-P is unchanged, too. Total case count up there is 161. Death toll is 18.
Worried about your license or vehicle registration expiring? If it was good through March 1, you now have until the end of September to take care of it after the Governor signed legislation yesterday extending the deadline. Some Secretary of State offices remain closed or have limited operation, so check before you visit one if you aren’t able to deal with your renewal online.