Whitmer announces reopening of businesses, nonessential medical care

Thursday, May 21, 2020 - 11:08am

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced more openings for Michigan Thursday morning.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced more openings for Michigan Thursday morning. Buy this photo
Courtesy of Michigan Executive Office

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed two executive orders on May 21 updating statewide policies on the reopening of businesses, access to nonessential medical care and workplace safety in reopened outpatient care facilities. 

Executive order 2020-96 reopens Michigan’s retail businesses and auto dealerships by appointment beginning on Tuesday, May 26. The governor explained that this is the latest step in the state-wide Safe Start plan, though precautions are still necessary. 

“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.

The order permits healthcare providers to perform nonessential medical, dental and veterinary procedures starting on May 29, lifting previous requirements. Additionally, gatherings of 10 people or fewer will be allowed starting immediately, as long as the participants practice social distancing.

Whitmer encouraged Michigan residents to continue staying safe by practicing social distancing procedures and staying home. 

“On behalf of our brave first responders on the front lines of this crisis, we must continue to all do our part by staying safe at home,” Whitmer said. “We owe it to them to do what we can to stop the spread of this virus.” 

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief deputy for health and chief medical executive, said maintaining the health and safety of customers and patients was the first priority of all businesses and medical practices reopening. 

“As businesses continue to reopen, it’s crucial that they adopt strict safety measures to protect their employees, customers and their families,” Khaldun said. “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. 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.”

Doug North, president of North Brothers Ford, expressed his gratitude in the press release for the opportunity to reopen and begin serving the community again while ensuring the safety of all customers. 

“This is great news for dealerships across the state,” North said. “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.”

The governor also signed executive order 2020-97, which updated a previous workplace safety rule, reopening outpatient health-care facilities such as clinics, primary care physician offices and dental offices. The order ensures that strict infection prevention protocols are followed in reopened healthcare facilities under the guidance of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

Michigan businesses that are operational with in-person interactions must provide COVID-19 training to workers covering workplace infection control practices, proper use of PPE, properly notifying the business of COVID-19 symptoms or diagnoses and reporting unsafe working conditions in addition to enforcing social distancing practices. 

According to Dr. Bobby Mukkamala, president of the Michigan State Medical Society, Michigan healthcare providers are ready to start taking care of patients and their communities again.

“It is time for patients to catch up on the care that has been deferred for the past two months,” Mukkamala said. “We encourage the citizens of Michigan to tend to their health and protect each other by following public health guidance to prevent the spread of this virus.” 

Consistent with previous Stay Safe, Stay Home orders from the governor, Michigan residents able to medically tolerate a face covering must do so in enclosed public spaces and workers in industries not authorized to reopen should stay home to protect themselves and the community. 

 

Daily Staff Reporter Hannah MacKay can be reached at mackayh@umich.edu.