Gov. Whitmer lifts stay-at-home order, allows dine-in restaurants to reopen with restrictions

click to enlarge Gov. Whitmer lifts stay-at-home order, allows dine-in restaurants to reopen with restrictions
State of Michigan

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is lifting the statewide stay-at-home order Monday and will allow parts of Michigan's economy to reopen with some restrictions in an effort to continue to "flatten the curve" of coronavirus cases in the state.

The order rescinds a previous executive order established on May 22 that extended a previous stay-at-home order through June 12. Big Gretch is now lifting that order, allowing restaurants to offer dine-in services with 50% capacity limits as early as June 8. The appointment-only status of retailers has also been lifted and will be allowed to reopen on Thursday, June 4, also with capacity limits.

The lifting of the order means Michigan is now entering phase 4 of Whitmer's MI Safe Start Plan. The “improving” phase is defined by a steady decline in both confirmed cases and coronavirus-related deaths throughout the state, as well as quick and robust testing and tracing abilities so as not to once again overwhelm hospitals. Whitmer says she hopes to enter phase 5, or “containing” by July 4.

"We are taking a big step forward today, Michigan,” Whitmer said in a press conference Monday. "May was hard, April was hard, the last part of March was as well. We don't want to repeat this in the fall. So, please take your role seriously and keep doing your part."

Whitmer first issued a stay-at-home order in mid-March.

Monday's order also allows groups of 100 or fewer to gather outdoors as long as they continue to practice social distancing measures, including outdoor fitness classes. Office work that cannot be done remotely can resume, though Whitmer urges those who can work from home to continue to do so. Drive-in movie theaters, like the Ford-Wyoming Drive-in in Dearborn, which was hit with a cease-and-desist last week, can resume operations, and house-cleaning services are also allowed under the new order. Swimming pools and day camps have also been given the green light to reopen.

Businesses such as casinos, indoor venues, theaters, gyms, fitness centers, and hair salons will remain closed.

During the press conference, Whitmer also made a call for unity as she addressed Michiganders who have protested the “historic inequities” in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and discussed her “deeply disturbing” call with fellow governors, in which President Donald Trump told state officials via video conference that they must “dominate” the protesters as to avoid looking like “a bunch of jerks.”

You can read Whitmer's full statement below.

"Right now our nation is hurting. Americans are in pain, and desperate for leadership from the White House during one of the darkest periods in our lifetimes. This morning I took a few moments to read a powerful essay written by our former president, Barack Obama, about how we can make this moment a turning point for real change in our country. I felt hopeful and inspired in a way that I haven’t felt in a long time. Then I joined a call with my fellow governors and the current president that was deeply disturbing. Instead of offering support or leadership to bring down the temperature at protests, President Trump told governors to ‘put it down’ or we would be ‘overridden.’ He said governors should ‘dominate’ protesters, ‘or you’ll look like a bunch of jerks.’ The president repeatedly and viciously attacked governors, who are doing everything they can to keep the peace while fighting a once-in-a-generation global pandemic."

"The president’s dangerous comments should be gravely concerning to all Americans, because they send a clear signal that this administration is determined to sow the seeds of hatred and division, which I fear will only lead to more violence and destruction. We must reject this way of thinking. This is a moment that calls for empathy, humanity, and unity. This is one of the most challenging periods in our nation’s history, but as Americans, we must remember our enemy is racial injustice, not one another. Let us heed the powerful words of President Obama today to ‘channel our justifiable anger into peaceful, sustained, and effective action.’ It’s time for all of us to pull together and do the hard work of building a nation that works for everyone."

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