Michigan residents now allowed to gather in groups of 10

Whitmer allows gatherings of up to 10 people

A group of friends. (Pexels)

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Thursday residents are allowed to gather in groups of as many as 10 people.

The order is effective immediately, Whitmer announced Thursday morning.

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Michiganders were restricted from visiting others and coming into contact with anyone outside their household due to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), except in essential circumstances.

Whitmer hinted last week that those restrictions might loosen when her current stay-at-home order expires May 28, but she made it official Thursday and put it into effect.

Participants must still practice social distancing, she said. Anyone able to wear a face mask must do so over their nose and mouth when in an enclosed public space, Whitmer said.

State officials are also partially reopening businesses and lifting medical restrictions across Michigan.

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.

About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.