Last month, it was announced that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services was banning smoking in cigar lounges in order to comply with the state’s mask mandate requirement to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Today Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer refined her previous mask mandate from four weeks earlier to allow the re-opening of smoking in lounges beginning Monday, March 22, 2021.

The mask mandate essentially shut down cigar lounges in the state of Michigan. Many retailers felt the COVID-19 pandemic was being used to enact deep smoking bans.

Under the updated guidance this sets the stage for cigar lounges to allow smoking in cases where individuals “Are engaging in an activity that requires removal of a mask not listed in another part of this section, and are in a facility that provides ventilation that meets or exceeds 60 ft3/min of outdoor airflow per person.”

“The collaborative work between the Premium Cigar Association (PCA) and Michigan Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (MPCPRA) was instrumental in achieving this victory,” Said Josh Habursky, Head of Government Affairs for the Premium Cigar Association in a press release. “We will build off this momentum as we work to preserve the tax cap in the coming months.”

“We look forward to resuming the enjoyment of handmade cigars this Monday! Thanks to the Michigan cigar community for speaking up, and thanks to Director Elizabeth Hertel for taking time to learn about our investment in ventilation equipment,” added Andy Hyde, co-owner of Nolan’s Cigar Bar in Traverse City, and President of the MPCPRA. “This quick resolution was only possible with the help of Senators Ananich, Nesbitt, Schmidt, and VanderWall, and their urgent communication with MDHHS. We will continue to do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 with proper spacing, hand-washing, cleaning and sanitation.”