Mark your calendars, Michiganders! The state’s reopening is picking up speed.
MICHIGAN — On Friday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gave the announcement Michiganders have been waiting for: Barbershops and hair salons will be reopening June 15. That’s alongside a slew of other indoor businesses like nail salons, movie theaters and bowling alleys — with some protections.
“Today marks another milestone in the safe reopening of Michigan’s economy,” Gov. Whitmer said in a statement. “As we continue to slowly reopen different parts of our state, it’s critical that we listen to the experts and follow the medical science to avoid a second wave of infections. The good news is that we are headed in the right direction, and if the current trajectory continues, I anticipate we’ll be able to announce more sectors reopening in the coming weeks. We owe it to our front line workers to keep doing our part.”
Hair and nail salons aren’t the only businesses returning soon.
Gov. Whitmer additionally signed Executive Order 2020-115, which expands the state of reopening in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. She added that she expects the entire state to move to the next reopening phase, Phase 5, in the coming weeks.
Phase 5 means indoor social gatherings and organized events of up to 50 people will again be allowed, as will outdoor social gatherings and organized events if people maintain six feet of distance from one another and the gathering consists of no more than 250 people. In addition, outdoor performance and sporting venues will be open with a larger capacity limit of 500, which will allow for some outdoor graduation ceremonies.
It also allows indoor businesses like bowling alleys, cinemas and convention centers to reopen at 25% capacity or a maximum capacity of 250 people, whichever is smaller. In addition, Executive Order 2020-114 laid out requirements for reopening entertainment facilities, including staff training and new practices designed to operate safely during the pandemic.
The rest of Michigan is expected to move into Phase 5 in the coming weeks. But Gov. Whitmer noted that businesses will be operating at reduced capacity for some time still.
Order 2020-114 also requires hair salons and barbershops to get rid of waiting area magazines, ensure social distancing and require employees to use personal protective equipment (PPE).
“COVID-19 is still very present,” Gov. Whitmer said in a press conference Friday. “I would love to keep kind of ratcheting up that engagement … but filling a stadium again probably won’t happen until we have a vaccine, and that’s gonna be a while.”
Based on the transition to Phase 4, the rest of Michigan is likely going to follow northern Michigan in a few weeks, provided the situation with the virus’ spread does not dramatically change.
Amid protests against racism and police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death, both Gov. Whitmer (who personally participated in protests) and the state’s chief physician Dr. Joneigh Khaldun encouraged protesters to look into ways to demonstrate while minimizing coronavirus spread, including the usage of face masks and equipment like bull horns and noisemakers instead of yelling.