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Occupancy at Kent County restaurants, gyms and venues limited to 50%

An emergency Kent County Public Health Order will go into effect March 16 at 10 a.m.

KENT COUNTY, Mich. — There is an update to this story: 

Michigan bars, restaurants ordered to close Monday amid coronavirus concerns


Kent County restaurants, gyms and venues will be limited to 50% capacity through April 5. It's part of an emerging public health order that will go into effect 10 a.m. Monday. 

There are now 53 COVID-19 cases in the state, and five of those cases are in Kent County. Kent County Health Department Director Dr. Adam London said this public health order is meant to promote social distancing.

"As we have learned about this virus and how it is transmitted, what has become very apparent is that the most effective way that this virus spreads is through close contact," London said during a Sunday evening press conference. 

RELATED: Live updates: Michigan has 12 new cases of coronavirus, bringing total to 45

Food service establishments (including bars, church dining halls, country clubs), gyms and entertainment venues (including theaters, auditoriums, conferences and sporting events) must all reduce occupancy by half for the next three weeks. 

"We recognize that this will present significant challenges for hundreds of businesses and local establishments throughout the county. I want to say we are grateful that representatives of our local business community stand in support of this decision," London said while flanked by leaders from the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Experience Grand Rapids. 

Health care facilities, grocery stories, food pantries and long term care facilities are excluded from the public health order. Oakland and Ingham Counties issued similar orders this weekend limiting occupancy loads to 50% in various facilities. 

Kent County Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young said her department will be working collaboratively with businesses on this order. 

"If it appears that an establishment is over capacity, our plan is to seek management's cooperation to lower capacity," she said at the press conference. 

LaJoye-Young also said that public visitation at the Kent County Jail will be suspended starting Monday. 

RELATED: Jail inmates get stepped-up screenings, possible early release, as pandemic grows

The most recent Kent County COVID-19 case involves a man in his 20s, who has no travel history. Dr. London this person is being isolated and recovering at home.

Watch the full update from the Kent County Health Department here

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