Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended the state's Stay Home order through June 12 as the state slowly and cautiously starts to reopen businesses.
Gov. Whitmer announced the extension of the Stay Home order late Friday evening around 5 p.m. The extension came the day after she announced groups of ten were permitted to gather, as long as they practiced social distancing.
This is the fifth time she's extended her Stay Home, Stay Safe order.
The new order will extend until June 12 and will extend the temporary closure of certain places of public accommodation such as theaters, gyms, and casinos.
“While the data shows that we are making progress, we are not out of the woods yet. If we’re going to lower the chance of a second wave and continue to protect our neighbors and loved ones from the spread of this virus, we must continue to do our part by staying safer at home,” said Governor Whitmer. “If we open too soon, thousands more could die and our hospitals will get overwhelmed. While we ﬁnally have more protective equipment like masks, we can’t run the risk of running low again. We owe it to the real heroes on the front lines of this crisis – our first responders, health care workers, and critical workers putting their lives on the line every day – to do what we can ourselves to stop the spread of the virus.”
Gov. Whitmer also extended the State of Emergency for the entire state until June 19.
On Friday, Michigan reported 29 more deaths, 403 more cases of COVID-19. That brings the state's totals to 53,913 cases and 5,158 deaths.
Also on Friday, businesses in the upper peninsula and parts of the lower peninsula were allowed to reopen and operate in a limited capacity. The decision is one that Republicans have pressed for weeks, despite Whitmer's emphasis on maintaining blanket bans on business across the state.
The order will impact bars, restaurants, and retail outlets.
The move will affect regions 6 and 8 as defined by the Michigan Economic Recovery Council (MERC), which includes the entire upper peninsula and the greater Traverse City region. Those businesses allowed to reopen must adopt safety measures and their workers must be trained in "workplace infection-control practices." While reopened, bars and restaurants must limit their capacity to 50% of their normal seating.
Those regions have now entered phase 4 of the MI Safe Start plan, labeled "improving." That means small gatherings can now resume. It also means that cases and deaths linked to COVID-19 have declined sharply as testing for the virus has grown. Recently, the state completed 15,000 daily tests.
Whitmer has been adamant that Michigan is flattening the curve but is "not out of the woods yet". She has referred to the re-engagement of Michigan's economy as a 'dial' and not a switch that can just be flipped.
The rest of Michigan is still in Phase 3 of Whitmer's six-phase plan called the MI Safe Start Plan.
Phase 3 is the "flattening" phase, which means daily new cases and deaths are relatively constant but transmission rates have fallen to manageable levels. According to Gov. Whitmer's plan, Michigan will move into Phase 4, the "improving" phase, when the number of new cases and deaths has decreased for a period of time, and when new outbreaks can be quickly identified and contained.
Moving into Phase 4 would mean more lower-risk businesses can open, like retail and office spaces. Dining-in at restaurants won't be allowed until Phase 5 under her plan.