Whitmer order allows nonessential medical procedures, retail, and auto dealerships to resume
Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced Monday that some retail businesses in northern MI can begin reopening on Friday as the governor continues to face heavy criticisms over her stringent lockdown measures.
Under Executive Order 2020-91, businesses that resume in-person work must, among other things, develop a coronavirus preparedness and response plan and make it available to employees and customers by June 1.
As of Monday, 51,915 cases and 4,915 deaths have been reported statewide, according to Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Friday will be a big day for people who work or are customers of many businesses in Northeast Michigan as they will be allowed to reopen if they can comply with some rules set by the state to keep people safe from COVID-19. And as we approach Memorial Day weekend, I encourage everyone to be smart and be safe.
"Per our understanding, the current order which affects the phased opening within our region - region (eight) - doesn't ... take effect until 12:01 a.m. on Friday, 5-22-20". Eased restrictions for businesses in other parts of the state could be announced within the next few days, the governor said.
Whitmer echoed Carruthers' call for vigilance, emphasizing the importance of adhering to social distancing guidelines to prevent a second coronavirus wave in the state later this year.
Under the governor's worker and customer safeguards, restaurants and bars must close waiting areas; close self-serve food and drink options; post signs telling customers to wear masks until they get to their table; and install barriers such as sneeze guards at cash registers and other areas where maintaining 6 feet distance is hard.
In comments included in a press release from the governor's office, Marquette Mayor Jenna Smith said: "I support the shift to making decisions on a regional level when possible".
"We must be mindful of this virus that is still spreading", he said.
The development comes after the Michigan House of Representatives and Senate sued Whitmer after she circumvented the legislature to extend the state of emergency declaration, alleging that the order is improper and invalid under state law.
Whitmer added that Trump's threat to withhold funding from her state that is "hurting as bad as we are right now" is "scary" and "unacceptable".
"Sparing lives and protecting the health and well-being of people is a noble pursuit". This could lead to the loss of homes and the inability of people to even feed their families.
This is phase four of the governor's six phase plan, known as the "improving" phase.