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More restrictions: Upper Peninsula moves backward to Phase 4 of MI Safe Start plan

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer(source: State of Michigan)
Published: Oct. 2, 2020 at 3:21 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - The Upper Peninsula will face tougher coronavirus restrictions after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer moved the region back to Phase 4 of the MI Safe Start plan.

Whitmer cited a continued increase in coronavirus activity in the U.P. for the move backward. Her order takes effect on Oct. 9, but she encourages everyone in northern Michigan to begin implementing tougher practices now to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“After seeing the increase in cases in the U.P. region over the past several weeks and consulting with medical experts, I have decided to take action to protect U.P. families and move the region back a phase,” Whitmer said. “I know this is hard. I know it will be an adjustment. But we can’t let our guard down.”

The move to Phase 4 means the following orders will take effect:

  • Everyone in the Upper Peninsula who can work remotely must do so.
  • Schools will be required to enforce tougher orders for staff and students to wear masks.
  • Limits on gatherings will decrease to match what has been in place for much of the Lower Peninsula, which is 10 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
  • Capacity for stores and indoor facilities moves back to 25% of the rated capacity with a limit of 20 people per 1,000 square feet of space and no more than 500 people in any enclosed area.

The Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula moved to Phase 5 of the MI Safe Start plan in June, which gave them fewer coronavirus restrictions. Coronavirus activity there was well below much of the Lower Peninsula from March to late June.

Whitmer said coronavirus numbers across the Upper Peninsula began increasing through the summer months before a sharp increase started around mid-September. She said the Upper Peninsula’s coronavirus numbers now are some of the most concerning in Michigan.

The MI Safe Start map shows the region is seeing an average of 283 new coronavirus cases per million people every day and 5.1% of coronavirus diagnostic tests coming back positive.

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