LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended the stay-at-home order late last week, but there are still segments of the state that will reopen this week.
As the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) slows in Michigan, the governor has started to loosen restrictions, particularly in the northern parts of the state but also in Metro Detroit and the rest of the Lower Peninsula.
Her stay-at-home order and state of emergency -- both previously set to expire May 28 -- were extended around 5:30 p.m. Friday before Memorial Day weekend.
Michigan is now under a stay-at-home order until June 12, and a state of emergency until June 19.
“If we open too soon, thousands more could die and our hospitals will get overwhelmed,” Whitmer said. “While we finally have more protective equipment like masks, we can’t run the risk of running low again.”
Tuesday: Retail and 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.
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.
“All of us know the importance of getting people back to work and the economy moving again,” Whitmer said. "We’ve already loosened some restrictions on construction, manufacturing, landscaping, retail and more. But the worst thing we can do is open up in a way that causes a second wave of infections and death, puts health care workers at further risk, and wipes out all the progress we’ve made.”
Friday: 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.
The governor updated workplace safety rules, requiring reopened health care facilities to adopt strict protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Last week, Whitmer allowed Michigan residents to gather in groups of up to 10 people.
Michiganders were previously 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.
Meanwhile, last Friday marked the first day restaurants, bars and retail could reopen in the Upper Peninsula and 17 counties in the northernmost part of the Lower Peninsula.
“While the data shows that we are making progress, we are not out of the woods yet,” Whitmer said. “If we’re going to lower the chance of a second wave and continue to protect our neighbors and loved ones from the spread of this virus, we must continue to do our part by staying safer at home.”
More on reopening Northern Michigan:
Restaurants and bars are allowed to open at 50% capacity, and all servers must wear masks, Whitmer said.
Individual groups of people at bars and restaurants have to be separated by at least six feet.
Only office workers whose jobs cannot be done remotely can return to work, Whitmer said.
Retail business are also allowed to reopen, 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. They can even limit bars and restaurants to outdoor seating, if they choose.