Gov. Whitmer re-opens restaurants, retail, with masks and distancing

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Monday announced local restaurants and retailers may re-open over the next week, provided they adhere to requirements for masks and social distancing.

More than two months have passed since a “Stay Home. Stay Safe.” order closed all but essential businesses, and required restaurants to limit service to carryout or delivery.

On Thursday, Whitmer said, retailers may open their doors with capacity limits. And on Monday, June 8, restaurants can open with indoor and outdoor seating, provided they operate at 50 percent of capacity with six feet between tables.

“That means you must maintain social distancing, wear your mask, and continue to do your part,” she added. (The Executive Order clarifies that masks may be removed for eating and drinking.)

Clothes Encounters
Retailers like Clothes Encounters in downtown Farmington may open on Thursday, provided they do so cautiously.

During their Monday meeting, Farmington city council members will consider temporarily expanding outdoor seating and sales for downtown businesses. Last week, through Downtown Development Authorities, Oakland County distributed re-opening kits for businesses that include masks, thermometers, social distancing signage and more.

Under Phase 4 of Whitmer’s re-opening plan, the “Safer At Home” order is rescinded, but residents are urged to continue social distancing and using masks whenever social distancing isn’t possible to continue slowing the disease spread. Indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people, but effective immediately, groups of up to 100 can gather outdoors, so long as they maintain strict social distancing.

Whitmer said outdoor fitness classes may resume, provided participants stay six feet from one another. Office work that can’t be done at home may resume, and drive-in movie theaters can resume operation. Day camps may resume, but will be “subject to further guidelines.” In-home services like house cleaning may resume.

“At this point, we’re saying you can return to some more normal life, unless you are in this particular part of the economy,” Whitmer said. “So we’re trying to flip our mindset here, and I think that is really good news.”

What’s still closed

Salons, barbershops, tattoo services, nail, and tanning salons and other “non-essential” personal service businesses remain closed, as do the following:

  • Indoor theaters, cinemas, and performance venues.
  • Indoor gymnasiums, fitness centers, recreation centers, sports facilities, exercise facilities and studios.
  • Casinos licensed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, racetracks licensed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, and Millionaire Parties licensed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board.
  • Amusement facilities like amusement parks, arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, indoor climbing facilities, indoor dance areas, skating rinks, and trampoline parks.

Those businesses still closed may re-open in Phase 5, which Whitmer said could happen as soon as a few weeks from now.

While the state order allows outdoor swimming pools to re-open as of June 8, at 50 percent of capacity and while maintaining social distancing, an Oakland County Public Health Order closing pools remained in effect as of Monday afternoon; the local order takes precedence. Indoor pools remain closed.

Read the complete Executive Order, which includes re-opening requirements for all affected businesses: Executive Order 2020-110 (COVID-19)

Whitmer said Michigan’s COVID-19 numbers continue to improve, and the Farmington area is no exception. Once an Oakland County “hotspot”, with a high number of cases per 10,000 residents, the community’s four major ZIP codes have seen steady declines in both rates of infection and deaths. East side ZIP codes, 48334 and 48336, currently have the highest number of cases, 206 and 247, respectively. On the west side, 48331 has 160 cases, and 48335 has 155.

While the state continues to re-open, Whitmer stressed that residents have to remain cautious and protect themselves and others.

“We don’t want to repeat this in the fall, so please, take your role and keep doing your part,” Whitmer said. “No one wants to move backwards, but if we see a spike coming, we may have to.”

Watch the press conference:


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