(WWJ) Big reopening news today: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has lifted Michigan's coronavirus stay-at-home order — and will allow more businesses and activities to restart.
Whitmer announce Monday that restaurants and bars can resume dine-in service on June 8 — with limited seating and other COVID-19 safety measures in place. Bars and restaurants will only be allowed to operate at half capacity, with groups sitting at least 6 feet apart, and servers will be required to wear masks, under the governor's latest executive order.
Libraries and museums will be allowed to reopen on June 8, and the governor is easing limits on gatherings. Groups of up to 100 people can gather outside as long as they practice social distancing under a new executive order signed Monday, and drive-in movie theaters will be allowed to reopen.
Shopping will also open up a bit more, with retailers allowed to reopen with limited store capacities, without an appointment, this Thursday, June 4.
Day camps for children and public pools can also open June 8, under the governor's order. As a result, Macomb County and Oakland County have rescinded a local health department order issued just last Friday closing public pools in the county indefinitely. (Details on that here). It's not clear yet if Wayne County and the City of Detroit would follow suit.
What's still closed?
Some businesses where close contact is necessary, including gyms, recreation centers, exercise studios, tattoo parlors and piercing services, barber shops, nail, tanning, massage and hair salons, will stay closed for now. However, gyms and fitness centers can offer outdoor activities such as classes, practices, training sessions and games as long as participants, coaches and spectators stay 6 feet apart.
Also not reopening yet: Casinos, indoor theaters and cinemas, performance venues and amusement parks.
Michiganders, meanwhile, are instructed to continue to wear masks when in enclosed public spaces and to continue to take all reasonable precautions to protect themselves, their loved ones, and the community, the state said. Officials say anyone who can should continue to work from home "to the maximum extent possible."
The news comes the same day as a big drop in daily COVID-19 cases in Michigan. On Monday, the health department reported 135 new cases, and 25 deaths. That brings the totals to 57,532 cases and 5,516 deaths.
As the case rate plummets, Whitmer said she is moving the entire state to Phase Four — the "improving" stage — of her plan to slowly relaunch the state's economy.
“The data has shown that we are ready to carefully move our state into the next phase of the MI Safe Start Plan, but we owe it to our brave frontline heroes to get this right,” said Whitmer.
Whitmer said she plans to sign another executive order moving Regions 6 and 8 in Northern Michigan to Phase Five, the "containing" phase, later this week, provided that the virus curve continues to flatten.
"If the current trajectory continues, I anticipate in the next few weeks we'll be able to announce the rest of the state moving into Phase Five. No one wants to move backwards, but if we see a spike coming we may have to...so please keep doing your part," the governor said/
“While Michiganders are no longer required to stay home, we must all continue to be smart and practice social distancing, and encourage those who meet the criteria to get tested for COVID-19. If we all do our part, our goal is to announce a shift to phase five for the entire state prior to the fourth of July. Stay smart, stay safe, and let’s all do our part," she said.
Bars have been completely shut down, and restaurants only open for carryout and delivery since March as part of an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus in Michigan.
The governor has stressed that she's as anxious as anyone to get the state's economy rolling again, but that we must do so in stages, and with input from health officials, to prevent a surge in virus cases.
“The governor and I, along with a team of experts, have determined that our state is ready to move into the next phase of the MI Safe Start Plan. Hospitalization numbers are down, our frontline workers have PPE to last them several weeks, and the number of positive cases and deaths are declining,” said MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “We will continue to monitor the data and work closely with local health departments to ensure Michiganders practice safe social distancing. On behalf of our health care professionals and first responders on the front lines, we must all be smart and be safe.”