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Michigan Gov. Whitmer partially reopens businesses, lifts medical restrictions statewide

Whitmer allows gatherings of up to 10 people

In this Monday, May 18, 2020 photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer seeks during a news conference in Lansing, Mich. Restaurants, bars and other retail businesses can reopen in much of northern Michigan starting Friday, May 22, Gov. Whitmer announced Monday  a key step for the tourism-dependent region before the Memorial Day weekend and summer season. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP, Pool)
In this Monday, May 18, 2020 photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer seeks during a news conference in Lansing, Mich. Restaurants, bars and other retail businesses can reopen in much of northern Michigan starting Friday, May 22, Gov. Whitmer announced Monday a key step for the tourism-dependent region before the Memorial Day weekend and summer season. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP, Pool)

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Thursday that she is partially reopening businesses and lifting medical restrictions across the entire state.

She is also allowing Michiganders to gather in groups of up to 10 people, as the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to slow across the state.

Retail, auto businesses

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.

“The data shows that Michigan is ready to phase in these sectors of our economy, but we must stay vigilant and ensure we’re doing everything we can to protect ourselves and our families from the spread of COVID-19,” Whitmer said. “On behalf of our brave first responders on the front lines of this crisis, we must continue to all do our part by staying safer at home. We owe it to them to do what we can to stop the spread of this virus.”

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.

Workers must also be taught the steps to notify managers of any COVID-19 symptoms or unsafe working conditions.

“As businesses continue to reopen, it’s crucial that they adopt strict safety measures to protect their employees, customers and their families,” said MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun.

“This is great news for dealerships across the state,” said Doug North, president of North Brothers Ford. “We appreciate the governor’s leadership, and we welcome the opportunity to serve our customers in a way that helps keep everyone safe from the showroom floor to the open road.”

Medical procedures

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.

“I know that as medical professionals begin offering nonessential procedures again, they will do everything in their power to protect patients and their families from COVID-19," Khaldun said. "I will continue to work with Gov. Whitmer and our partners across Michigan to protect our families and lower the chance of a second wave.”

Whitmer also updated workplace safety rules, requiring reopened health care facilities to adopt strict protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“With today’s announcement, physicians and health care providers in Michigan are ready to resume taking care of patients,” said Dr. Bobby Mukkamala, president of the Michigan State Medical Society. “It is time for patients to catch up on the care that has been deferred for the past two months. We encourage the citizens of Michigan to tend to their health and protect each other by following public health guidance to prevent spread of this virus."

The governor also signed a separate order, Executive Order 2020-97, updating a prior rule on workplace safety. Per the amended order, reopened outpatient health-care facilities, including clinics, primary care physician offices, and dental offices, will have to adopt strict protocols to prevent infection. The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs will issue guidance to aid those facilities in adopting appropriate safeguards.

Small gatherings

The order authorizes small gatherings of up to 10 people, 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.

Michiganders who aren’t working as critical infrastructure workers or at a business that has been authorized to reopen should stay home to protect themselves and their families from the spread of COVID-19, the governor said.


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