Whitmer relaxes restrictions, local businesses may re-open

Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Friday extended her “Stay Home. Stay Safe.” Executive Order through May 15, but offered relief for some retail businesses.

The shelter in place order, designed to slow the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), appears to be working, but while lifting some restrictions, Whitmer said, residents should remain vigilant.

I want to be crystal clear: the overarching message today is still the same. We must all do our part by staying home and staying safe as much as possible,” she said. 

Under the new order, retailers not considered “essential” can reopen for curbside pick-up and deliveries, and larger stores can reopen garden centers and other areas previously closed. Landscapers, lawn-service companies, and nurseries are back in business, as are bicycle repair and service shops.

The order also calls for strict social distancing in all businesses where employees are coming back to work.

On Thursday, The Vines Flower and Garden Shop in downtown Farmington announced the store would open on Friday for curbside pick-up of online orders. In addition, the shop is donating a spring bouquet to an essential worker for every $500 in sales.

 

The new order also requires people to wear homemade, cloth face masks while shopping and in other public spaces. Employers are now required to provide cloth masks for their employees, an order already in place for Oakland County businesses.

Masks are not required while walking in neighborhoods, and you won’t be ticketed for not wearing one. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides information on its website about making and using masks.

The new order also allows golf, without golf carts, and motorized boating, with social distancing. While strongly discouraged, people may now travel to and and from second homes in Michigan or elsewhere.

County, local numbers

Oakland County Executive David Coulter on Friday said Oakland County now has 6,744 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 1,852 people considered recovered 30 days after having symptoms. The county has lost 566 residents to the disease.

Across four major Farmington/Farmington Hills ZIP codes, 589 residents have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and 69 have died from the disease. Both cities have consistently ranked among the county’s COVID “hotspots,” with 50 or more cases per 10,000 residents.

Coulter said Whitmer’s ability to take action is the result of everyone’s efforts.

“We know your commitment these last few weeks has made a difference,” he said. “Health care systems overwhelmed caring for COVID-19 patients a few weeks ago… are now stabilitzing and seeing less people.”

Beaumont Health, which operates a hospital and other facilities in Farmington Hills, is tracking a steady decline in the number of COVID-19 cases treated across the system. After a peak of more than 1,000 cases per day in early April, numbers this week dipped below 700.

Beaumont Health COVID-19 tracking

Read Executive Order 2020-59.

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