Up North businesses can reopen Friday, Whitmer says

Michigan Economic Recovery Council's Reporting Regions

Michigan Economic Recovery Council's Reporting Regions

Social gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed across the vast area, too.

Restaurants and bars can open at half regular seating capacity, office work which can't be done remotely, and retail establishments, can begin reopening. Waiters will be required to wear face masks.

At this time MCHD can not provide accurate information regarding the specifics of the phased opening of businesses in the Upper Peninsula, officials said.

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After telling CBS' Gayle King that she urged Trump during a phone call on Wednesday to focus on the "true enemy" of both the novel coronavirus and the catastrophic flooding caused by two collapsed dams in her state, Whitmer called the President's threat to withhold funding from MI amid the COVID-19 pandemic "ridiculous". "This will help prevent a second surge in cases in our state". Eased restrictions for businesses in other parts of the state could be announced within the next few days, the governor said.

In April, hundreds of protesters, some armed, gathered at the state Capitol in Lansing to demonstrate against the orders.

Any business planning to reopen must adopt social distancing practices and provide COVID-19 training to workers, which must cover workplace infection-control practices, the proper use of PPE, steps workers must take to notify the business or operation of any symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, and how to report unsafe working conditions.

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The reopening brings Michigan into Phase 4 of Whitmer's MI Safe Start Plan of reopening the state. "When it comes to new cases per million percent of positive tests and deaths, these regions are far below the statewide average". Region 6 is the Traverse City-area, and Region 8 is the entire Upper Peninsula. About 79% of deaths are from three counties in metro Detroit. He said it may take some time for them to get up and running, but he is confident they will be able to meet requirements and serve customers and staff in a safe manner.

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.

Republican lawmakers, who have challenged Whitmer's orders in court, said they had been pushing for a "commonsense" regional approach.

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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".

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