Photo courtesy the Office of the Governor
Photo courtesy the Office of the Governor

And the new safety regulations all those offices are putting in place will help keep you safe while the state approaches a return to normal operations. 

LANSING — Starting Monday, Secretary of State offices will be open by appointment only.

All 131 branch offices in Michigan will be open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., for transactions, including driver licenses and state ID transactions that must be done in-person; title transfers; operator, commercial drivers license, chauffeur, mechanic and motorcycle testing; and seasonal commercial vehicle renewal.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said that while branch offices have been closed for months as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic, her office has processed more than 3,000 emergency appointments with essential workers and have used the time to strategize ways to safely resume operations starting June 1. 

Those safety practices include wearing masks, standing six feet apart, using desk shields, and continuously disinfecting shared or common surfaces.

RELATED: Jocelyn Benson’s 3 Biggest Moves as Secretary of State So Far

“Customers can be confident they’ll be able to conduct their business with us safely and efficiently,” Benson said in a statement.

Michiganders arriving for an appointment with a Secretary of State branch office are asked to follow a number of safety procedures as well, like arriving alone for their appointment and wearing a face mask. They are also asked to approach employees only when handing over documents, and maintain social distancing at all other times.

The doors to branch offices will be locked. At the time of an appointment, customers will be met by a greeter at scheduled appointment times. Before an appointment, customers are asked to wait in their cars. 

The Secretary of State’s office has also color-coded commonly used renewal forms:

  • Red: Vehicle registration
  • Blue: Driver’s license
  • Green: State identification card
  • Teal: Watercraft
  • Gray: Snowmobile
  • Purple: Special plate 

In a tele-town hall with Equality Michigan and The ‘Gander earlier this month, Benson said she anticipated these practices to be in place for several months. 

Reopening branch offices comes as Michigan continues to show a flattened curve, and Detroit — one of the hardest-hit cities in the nation — has dramatically slowed the virus’ rate of spread. As The ‘Gander recently reported, a Detroit-area hospital reported fewer than 100 patients for the first time this week. But as the southeast of Michigan has shown great strides in mitigating the spread of the virus, the southwest side has shown spikes in case spread. 

SEE ALSO: You Can Choose Michigan’s New Legislative Districts — You Just Have To Apply By Monday

Friday, the state reported 607 new diagnoses of the coronavirus statewide, and 34 deaths. This brings Michigan’s total to 56,621 confirmed cases, of which 5,406 have died. Around one in five sick Michiganders lives in Detroit. 

Michigan’s chief physician, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, reminded Michiganders Friday that most people are able to be tested now, and that the Department of Health and Human Services has a testing site locator on the state’s coronavirus resource website.

“This crisis has been difficult for everyone and life as we know it will be different for a while,” Khaldun said. “We truly are in this together and with our continued patience and vigilance I’m confident we will beat COVID-19.”

Khaldun also reminded Michiganders about the mental health hotlines the state has available.

Nationally, there are 1,731,035 cases of the coronavirus, which has claimed 102,201 lives, reports USA Today

According to the daily update from the state, the county-level breakdown is as follows:

  • Alcona: 14 (1 death)
  • Allegan: 216 (6 deaths) 
  • Alpena: 94 (9 deaths)
  • Antrim: 12 
  • Arenac: 34 (1 death)  
  • Baraga: 1
  • Barry: 62 (2 deaths)
  • Bay: 302 (22 deaths)
  • Benzie: 4
  • Berrien: 613 (49 deaths)
  • Branch: 111 (2 deaths)
  • Calhoun: 361 (22 deaths)
  • Cass: 80 (3 deaths)
  • Charlevoix: 15 (1 death)
  • Cheboygan: 21 (1 death)
  • Chippewa: 2
  • Clare: 18 (2 deaths)
  • Clinton: 139 (10 deaths)
  • Crawford: 58 (5 death)
  • Delta: 17 (2 deaths)
  • Dickinson: 5 (2 deaths)
  • Eaton: 185 (6 deaths)
  • Emmet: 21 (2 deaths)
  • Genesee: 1,998 (250 deaths)
  • Gladwin: 18 (1 death)
  • Gogebic: 5 (1 death)
  • Grand Traverse: 25 (5 deaths)
  • Gratiot: 74 (8 deaths)
  • Hillsdale: 169 (24 deaths)
  • Houghton 5
  • Huron: 44 (1 death)
  • Ingham: 734 (25 deaths)
  • Ionia: 147 (4 deaths)
  • Iosco: 94 (9 deaths)
  • Isabella: 76 (7 deaths)
  • Jackson: 510 (28 deaths)
  • Kalamazoo: 833 (54 deaths)
  • Kalkaska: 19 (2 deaths)
  • Kent: 3,596 (80 deaths)
  • Lake: 7
  • Lapeer: 188 (30 deaths)
  • Leelanau: 11
  • Lenawee: 151 (4 deaths)
  • Livingston: 395 (26 deaths)
  • Luce: 3
  • Mackinac: 8
  • Macomb: 6,616 (793 deaths)
  • Manistee: 11
  • Marquette: 54 (10 deaths)
  • Mason: 32
  • Mecosta: 21 (2 deaths)
  • Menominee: 8
  • Midland: 81 (8 deaths)
  • Missaukee: 16 (1 death)
  • Monroe: 469 (19 deaths)
  • Montcalm: 65 (1 death)
  • Montmorency: 5
  • Muskegon: 631 (36 deaths)
  • Newaygo: 103
  • Oakland: 8,311 (975 deaths)
  • Oceana: 85 (2 deaths)
  • Ogemaw: 21 (1 death)
  • Osceola: 11
  • Oscoda: 5 (1 death)
  • Otsego: 100 (10 deaths)
  • Ottawa: 759 (33 deaths)
  • Presque Isle: 11
  • Roscommon: 21
  • Saginaw: 1,018 (108 deaths)
  • Sanilac: 41 (5 deaths)
  • Schoolcraft: 4
  • Shiawassee: 239 (26 deaths)
  • St Clair: 448 (39 deaths) 
  • St Joseph: 112 (2 death)
  • Tuscola: 189 (23 deaths)
  • Van Buren: 136 (6 deaths)
  • Washtenaw: 1,318 (100 deaths)
  • Wayne: 20,227 (2,425 deaths) (Detroit alone has 10,929 cases and 1,356 deaths)
  • Wexford: 11 (3 deaths)
  • Michigan Department of Corrections: 3,749 (66 deaths)
  • Federal Corrections Institute: 142 (4 deaths)
  • Unknown: 24
  • Out of State: 32

Total: 56,621 cases, 5,406 deaths