Starting this week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will lift restrictions imposed with the stay-at-home order to the six remaining regions that have not been opened in Michigan. This announcement comes two weeks after Whitmer relaxed restrictions on the upper peninsula and northern Michigan.
Michigan’s stay-at-home order was first imposed on March 24 and was recently extended until June 12. Michigan has been one of the hardest hit states in the pandemic with over 57,000 confirmed cases and 5,516 deaths.
In a press conference Monday afternoon, Whitmer announced Michigan will begin phase four of the Michigan Safe Start Plan for the entire state starting this week. For regions five and six, Whitmer said she plans to initiate phase five later this week as well.
According to AP News, Whitmer made a statement before her Monday afternoon press conference about the logistics of the reopening.
“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,” Whitmer said.
Starting June 4, retailers will be allowed to reopen as usual and shoppers won’t need an appointment, Whitmer said. Groups of 100 or less will be able to gather outdoors as long as social distancing is strictly followed, and facial coverings must be worn in enclosed public spaces. Office work not able to be performed at home will be able to resume as well, according to Whitmer.
During the press conference, Whitmer said restaurants can open Monday, June 8, for up to 50 percent capacity for dine-in services, as long as tables remain six feet apart and social distancing guidelines are maintained. Daycares can resume activity next Monday as well with guidelines to come, according to Whitmer.
“May was hard, April was hard, the last part of March was as well,” Whitmer said. “We don’t want to repeat this in the fall, so please take your role seriously and keep doing your part.”
Whitmer also addressed the protests occurring across the country in response to the continued racism and police brutality. She emphasized the need to come together to combat both the COVID-19 pandemic and the racial injustices.
“We must all collectively be the solutions to the problems that we are confronting,” Whitmer said. “We will get through this, we will see real change when we lock arms together and work together.”
Summer News Editors Sarah Payne and Kristina Zheng can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.