LANSING, Mich. – The state of Michigan continues the reopening process Monday as the number of new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases decreases and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer loosens restrictions on businesses.
Monday (June 15) has been circled on the calendars of many Michiganders for weeks. Here’s what’s reopening across the state today.
Hair, nail, massage businesses
After controversy swirled around the industry for weeks, Whitmer announced 10 days ago that personal care services would reopen across the state.
On Monday, hair salons, nail salons, massage businesses and spas can resume operations.
“Today marks another milestone in the safe reopening of Michigan’s economy,” Whitmer said. “As we continue to slowly reopen different parts of our state, it’s critical that we listen to the experts and follow the medical science to avoid a second wave of infections."
At the beginning of the Michigan stay-at-home order, landscaping was the hotly debated topic as Whitmer was hesitant to allow even outdoor businesses to operate.
Then, residents and Republican lawmakers alike battled to end the entire stay-at-home order.
When Whitmer lifted the stay-at-home order June 1, hairstylists and members of the personal care industry were outraged that their businesses remained closed.
Michigan stay-at-home order timeline: 70 days, 4 extensions, ever-changing restrictions
Salon owners took special exception to a comment Whitmer made when answering a question about people leaving the state of Michigan to get haircuts in Ohio or Indiana.
“I’d tell people if you’re like me and you need a haircut that desperately, a couple more weeks of this and we may be back in a place where we’re able to do that safely,” Whitmer said. “If you’re one of those people going to Ohio, I hope and pray you are doing your part not to bring COVID-19 home, and that if you haven’t, Google how you do a haircut or throw your hair into a ponytail and get through the next couple of weeks so we can resume some of these things.”
The next day she announced salons could reopen June 15.
Salons have to follow specific rules pertaining to social distancing, mask wearing and plexiglass screens.
Bottle, can returns
Monday is also the deadline for stores with bottle and can return machines to reopen them for customers.
Michigan stores have been allowed to start accepting returns since June 5, but Whitmer set a hard deadline of Monday (June 15) for all stores to get the machines back up and running.
Since residents have likely been storing more cans and bottles that usual over the last three months, stores might have restrictions on returns. Customers should check with stores before returning bottles or cans.
Here are some steps companies could take to help with the influx of returns:
- Limit the number of containers that may be returned by a single person per day to a deposit refund amount of $25.
- Establish special or limited hours of operation for bottle returns.
- Limit the number of available and operating reverse vending machines.
- Periodically close bottle deposit facilities as needed for cleaning and supply management.
- Implement other procedures or restrictions as necessary to keep the process safe and/or efficient.
Customers are asked to keep a distance of at least six feet and wear masks while returning bottles.
Looking forward to phase 5?
Michigan has reached a tricky crossroads in the reopening process.
When she lifted the stay-at-home order on June 1 and moved the entire state to phase four of her COVID-19 reopening plan, Whitmer said she thought a move to phase five could happen sooner rather than later.
Four days later, Whitmer moved regions six and eight to phase five of the plan and reiterated that the rest of Michigan could soon follow.
“The good news is that we are headed in the right direction, and if the current trajectory continues, I anticipate we’ll be able to announce more sectors reopening in the coming weeks,” Whitmer said.
That was 10 days ago, so is Michigan nearing another step toward normalcy?
On one hand, the state’s daily COVID-19 numbers have remained low, with no more than 304 new cases reported on any day in June. By maintaining lower numbers while the state steadily reopens, Michiganders are suggesting they can handle fewer restrictions without sparking another major spread of the virus.
It’s worth noting that the two-week incubation period of COVID-19 often delays outbreaks as a result of reopening businesses, so any wave of new cases in the coming days would hurt the chances to move onto the fifth stage of the plan.
Whitmer also has to take into account what’s happening around the country. Some states, such as Florida and Arizona, have seen massive spikes in new cases since reopening their economies. Florida hit an all-time high in new cases Saturday, and Arizona did the same Friday.
Most of Michigan’s economy has already reopened, including those that did so on Monday. Now, with no scheduled reopenings in the future, the question becomes whether all of Michigan will soon advance to phase five.
Whitmer didn’t hold any daily coronavirus briefings last week, so we haven’t heard much from the governor since her comments 10 days ago. If she does hold a news conference this week, we will stream it live. Any new information will be posted immediately to ClickOnDetroit.com.