LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer continues to loosen her coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions across the state, as many businesses and procedures are now able to open in some capacity.
Before she extended her first stay-at-home order on April 24, Whitmer had virtually shut down the entire state completely. No businesses were open. Restaurants and bars were closed.
On March 30, a partnership between the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development allowed restaurants to sell food and pantry items.
Whitmer first loosened restrictions April 24, when she extended her stay-at-home order through May 15.
She lifted restrictions so some businesses linked to outdoor activities, such as golf and motorized boating, could reopen.
Landscapers, lawn-service companies, plant nurseries and bike repair shops were allowed to resume operating, subject to social-distancing rules.
Stores selling nonessential supplies could reopen for curbside pickup and delivery.
Big-box retailers no longer had to close off garden centers and areas dedicated to selling paint, flooring and carpet.
Golfing was allowed, but without golf carts. Golf carts were later reinstated.
Whitmer also allowed people with multiple in-state homes to resume traveling between them, though it was strongly discouraged.
On May 1, after again extending her stay-at-home order, this time until May 28, Whitmer reopened certain types of work that are typically outdoors and have a low risk of spreading the coronavirus (COVID-19).
That included construction work and real estate.
Michigan residents were still required to stay in their homes, with the exception of running critical errands, spending time outdoors or traveling to specified jobs.
Michigan’s economy got a much-needed lift when Whitmer announced she would reopen manufacturing, including the Big 3 automakers.
Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler would be allowed to reopen at the beginning of the following week, Whitmer announced May 7.
Manufacturing companies were required to take steps to protect workers from the spread of COVID-19, including daily entry screenings for everyone entering the facility, a questionnaire covering symptoms and exposure to people with possible COVID-19 and temperature checks as soon as no-touch thermometers could be obtained.
Thousands of Metro Detroit autoworkers officially got back on the job Monday as Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler assembly plants started rolling again.
The governor hinted last week that gatherings of up to 10 people could be allowed when the current stay-at-home order is up.
But residents won’t even have to wait that long, as Whitmer put that policy into place Thursday, effective immediately.
Participants must still practice social distancing, Whitmer said.
Anyone able to wear a face mask must do so over their nose and mouth when in an enclosed public space, Whitmer said.
On Monday, Whitmer took the first major step toward reopening the state, announcing bars, restaurants and retail businesses would partially reopen in two of the state’s eight regions.
In the Upper Peninsula and the Traverse City Region, restaurants and bars will be allowed to open at 50% capacity at 12:01 a.m. Friday.
Not sure how the regions work in the reopening plan? Click here. Want to see which region your county is in? Here’s a list of which region all 83 Michigan counties are divided into.
All servers must wear masks, Whitmer said. Individual groups of people at bars and restaurants will have to be separated by at least six feet.
Office workers whose jobs cannot be done remotely can return to work in those regions, Whitmer announced.
Retail business will also be allowed to reopen in those regions, but companies must provide personal protective equipment to workers, keep everyone six feet apart and ensure employees understand how to safely maneuver in this environment.
Cities, villages and townships can choose to enforce more cautious rules if they wish, the governor said. They can even limit bars and restaurants to outdoor seating, if they choose.
Thursday marks the first major statewide reopening since the coronavirus shutdown, as Whitmer loosened restrictions on retail and medical practices.
Whitmer said retail businesses can reopen, as well as auto dealerships by appointment, on Tuesday.
Retail businesses that reopen can have up to 10 customers inside at any time, Whitmer said.
Businesses with in-person interaction have to implement rules to protect workers, such as training them on infection control practices and the proper use of personal protective equipment.
Whitmer also lifted the restrictions on health care providers who had to delay some nonessential medical, dental and veterinary procedures. Those procedures can resume Friday, May 29.
The governor updated workplace safety rules, requiring reopened health care facilities to adopt strict protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.