Michigan theaters, entertainment venues to reopen October 9

More than six months after COVID-19 closed their doors, Michigan movie theaters, performance venues, arcades, and other businesses got the green light Friday to re-open on October 9, with limited capacity.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s new Executive Order also shifts the limit of 10 people in non-residential indoor gatherings and events to 20 people per 1,000 square feet or 20 percent of fixed seating capacity. The largest venues have a maximum seating of 500. 

Non-residential outdoor gatherings and events, previously limited to 100 people, now have an attendance limit of 30 people per 1,000 square feet or 30 percent of fixed seating capacity, with a maximum of 1,000 people.

Farmington Civic Theater
The Farmington Civic Theater in downtown Farmington will re-open October 9.

Businesses must require a face covering and enforce social distancing of six feet in seating or waiting areas. Facilities will be required to keep records of patrons’ names and phone numbers to facilitate contract tracing. 

“I know these business owners have made incredible sacrifices during this crisis to protect our families and frontline workers, and my administration will continue working to help them get back on their feet,” Governor Gretchen Whitmer said in a press release. “We are not out of the woods yet, and we will continue to monitor the effects of these incremental changes.”

After weeks of recent (within 30 days) COVID-19 cases topping 200, the Farmington area’s four major ZIP codes have seen a decline, as has the rest of Oakland County. Since late August, the county’s 7-day average of daily cases has dropped from a high of 117 to 60 on September 25.

Scott Freeman, who manages the City of Farmington’s Civic Theater, confirmed the venue will re-open on October 9. During the shut down, the historic downtown Farmington movie house has offered virtual cinema options and sold popcorn and drinks on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

The Riviera Cinema at West River shopping center in Farmington Hills also plans an October 9 re-opening, along with all other Emagine Entertainment theaters, company CEO Paul Glantz told The Detroit News.

The order will relax restrictions on funeral homes. Many families have delayed memorial gatherings and services due to the pandemic.

Phil Douma, Executive Director of the Michigan Funeral Directors Association, said in a press release that “Increasing the number of people able to attend a funeral is the right thing to do, and grieving families across our state can now more properly mourn their losses and honor those they love.”

Also on Friday, Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-185, which requires all students in grades kindergarten and up to wear a face covering in classrooms. Prior orders had recommended, but did not require, a face covering for those students.

Read the orders:


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