Governor Gretchen Whitmer is slightly loosening her grip slightly on the Michigan economy, as she announced that some northern parts of the state can reopen.  The action comes on a day after Michigan reported its lowest daily death total in nearly two months.

Speaking on Monday afternoon, Whitmer said she will allow businesses located in Regions 6 and 8, the Upper Peninsula, and greater Traverse City areas may open at 12:01 am on Friday, May 22nd.   Bars and restaurants with limited seating and some additional retail areas may open.  The Governor says outdoor seating should be used whenever possible, as data shows it is safer than indoor seating.    She also said that data has shown that these northern regions are the safest areas of the state for opening some businesses, but she says she’ll be watching those areas carefully as a test to determine whether other areas can be opened.

Cities, villages, and townships may choose to take a more cautious course if they wish: the order does not abridge their authority to restrict the operations of restaurants or bars, including limiting such establishments to outdoor seating.  

The governor also announced new measures to train businesses and employees and make sure that they comply with new rules and practices to ensure workplace safety.  Whitmer's latest executive order will allow her to appoint a Director of COVID-19 Workplace Safety.   Workplaces will be monitored by state workers to enforce the state rules.

Whitmer said that nobody should feel unsafe when they go back to work or worry about their families.   Businesses that resume must develop a plan and submit it by June 1st.   They’ll also have to train employees on infection control, operation of PPE equipment, and reporting practices.


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