The Upper Peninsula will begin to re-open for business for the Memorial Day weekend. This afternoon, Governor Gretchen Whitmer indicated that a partial resumption in business activities can begin Friday in the U.P., and a portion of the northern Lower Peninsula.
The new order will cover retail establishments, and office work that cannot be done remotely from home. It will also allow bars and restaurants to resume limited inside service.
All businesses that will reopen must adopt the safety measures outlined in the Executive Order 2020-91. Among other things, they must provide COVID-19 training to workers that includes, workplace infection-control practices, the proper use of PPE, steps workers must take to notify the business or operation of any symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, and how to report unsafe working conditions. Restaurants and bars must limit capacity to 50% of their normal seating, keep groups at least six feet from one another, require their servers to wear face coverings, and to follow rigorous disinfection protocols.
Whitmer called the move a big step, and reminded businesses that they are obligated to do everything in their power to protect their workers, customers, and their families.
Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun encouraged all Michiganders to continue to wear masks in public, maintain a six-foot distance from others, and remain vigilant in washing their hands frequently, to help prevent a second surge in COVID-19 cases.
Justin Winslow, President and CEO of the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association, praised the move, and reminded restaurant and bar owners that, with the opportunity, comes an extraordinary responsibility to operate in a manner that ensures the safety of their guests and their employees.
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.
Traverse City Mayor Jim Carruthers and Marquette Mayor Jenna Smith immediately applauded the move.
Again, the Upper Peninsula will begin to re-open after the COVID-19 lockdown on Friday.
To see the governor’s full order, click here.