LANSING, MI –(Mlive) – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order Thursday morning lifting some restrictions on business and social activity.
Gatherings of 10 people or less are now permitted, starting immediately, as long as participants practice social distancing, the governor’s office announced.
Starting Friday, May 29, health care providers can perform nonessential medical, dental, and veterinary procedures, and starting Tuesday, May 26, retail businesses and auto dealerships across the state will be allowed to operate via appointment only. Retail businesses and auto showrooms are limited to 10 people inside at a time.
“The data shows that Michigan is ready to phase in these sectors of our economy, but we must stay vigilant and ensure we’re doing everything we can to protect ourselves and our families from the spread of COVID-19,” Whitmer said in a news release. “On behalf of our brave first responders on the front lines of this crisis, we must continue to all do our part by staying safer at home. We owe it to them to do what we can to stop the spread of this virus.”
Thursday’s order means many will be able to gather for the Memorial Day holiday, which didn’t appear likely when the stay-home order was extended until May 28.
“As businesses continue to reopen, it’s crucial that they adopt strict safety measures to protect their employees, customers, and their families,” said MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun in a press release. “I know that as medical professionals begin offering nonessential procedures again, they will do everything in their power to protect patients and their families from COVID-19. I will continue to work with Governor Whitmer and our partners across Michigan to protect our families and lower the chance of a second wave.”
The order allows for reopening outpatient health care facilities, including clinics, primary care physician offices, and dental offices. The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs will issue guidance to aid those medical facilities in adopting appropriate safeguards, the state said.
“With today’s announcement, physicians and health care providers in Michigan are ready to resume taking care of patients,” said Dr. Bobby Mukkamala, president of the Michigan State Medical Society, in a press release. “It is time for patients to catch up on the care that has been deferred for the past two months. We encourage the citizens of Michigan to tend to their health and protect each other by following public health guidance to prevent spread of this virus.”
Bars, restaurants, salons, barbers and other industries not specifically mentioned in the order will not be permitted to open under the latest order.
“Things that were not included in the list today are not included in the list today,” Whitmer said during Thursday’s press conference when asked about those businesses. “What we know is that this virus is still very present in the vast majority of our state. And so, we are asking people to be really smart as we take these steps so we don’t have to take a step backwards, we can keep moving forward.”