More restrictions lifted: Gov. Whitmer partially reopens retail and auto dealerships

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that retail establishments can reopen partially, small gatherings of 10 or fewer can resume and non-essential medical procedures are allowed.
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LANSING (WJRT) (5/21/2020) - Michigan retail stores and auto dealerships will be allowed to reopen partially as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer relaxes more coronavirus restrictions.

She announced on Thursday that stores and dealerships can reopen statewide on Tuesday by appointment only. Small public gatherings of 10 or fewer people are allowed with social distancing guidelines.

Limits on non-essential medical procedures by physicians, dentists and veterinarians also will be fully lifted on May 29, Whitmer announced.

RELATED: Whitmer announces end to limits medical, dental, veterinary procedures

“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.

Prior statewide orders remain in effect requiring everyone in an enclosed space to wear a mask, scarf, bandana or handkerchief covering their nose and mouth. Patients medically unable to wear a face covering are exempt.

Businesses that resume in-person activities also must adopt social distancing practices for customers and employees. All employees also must receive training on the following guidelines:

-- Preventing workplace infection and the spread of coronavirus.
-- Proper use of personal protective equipment.
-- Steps workers must take to notify employers of a confirmed coronavirus diagnosis of the onset of potential symptoms.
-- How to report potentially unsafe working conditions.

“As businesses continue to reopen, it’s crucial that they adopt strict safety measures to protect their employees, customers, and their families,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan's chief medical executive.

Whitmer said coronavirus has changed life as we know it in Michigan, so everyone needs to adapt.

"What we don't want to do is to just simply re-engage as though nothing's changed," she said. "Life has changed, and it's important that we change along with it so we can safely get back to some normalcy."

Whitmer said Michigan's "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order likely will be extended past the current May 28 expiration. However, she did not say how long it will remain in effect and what restrictions will continue.

"What we are announcing today is good news. And the most important thing right now is to listen to the experts and follow the medical science," she said. "This will not look like business as usual. Although it will start to look a little more normal."

Anyone who is not a critical infrastructure worker or visiting a business that is allowed to reopen should stay home.