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Retail businesses, auto dealers can open on May 26; gatherings of 10 or less allowed immediately

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Posted at 10:08 AM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 18:21:35-04

(WXYZ) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Thursday that retail businesses and auto dealerships will be able to open on Tuesday, May 26 by appointment.

Whitmer also authorized nonessential medical, dental and veterinary procedures beginning Friday, May 29.

RELATED: Whitmer: Short-term, temporary extension of stay-at-home order will 'likely' be necessary

Gatherings of 10 or less people can begin immediately. Social distancing is still required during all of these events.

“The data shows that Michigan is ready to phase in these sectors of our economy, but we must stay vigilant and ensure we’re doing everything we can to protect ourselves and our families from the spread of COVID-19,” Whitmer said in a release. “On behalf of our brave first responders on the front lines of this crisis, we must continue to all do our part by staying safer at home. We owe it to them to do what we can to stop the spread of this virus.”

“As businesses continue to reopen, it’s crucial that they adopt strict safety measures to protect their employees, customers, and their families,” said MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “I know that as medical professionals begin offering nonessential procedures again, they will do everything in their power to protect patients and their families from COVID-19. I will continue to work with Governor Whitmer and our partners across Michigan to protect our families and lower the chance of a second wave.”

Businesses that are open or opening must adopt social distancing practices and other mitigation measures to protect workers.

They must provide COVID-19 training to workers, provide PPE and more.

“With today’s announcement, physicians and health are providers in Michigan are ready to resume taking care of patients,” said Dr. Bobby Mukkamala, president of the Michigan State Medical Society. “It is time for patients to catch up on the care that has been deferred for the past two months. We encourage the citizens of Michigan to tend to their health and protect each other by following public health guidance to prevent spread of this virus."

But while some businesses will be allowed to work in a restricted capacity — others may be facing another setback as the stay-home order could be extended.

“If we can’t open, we are going to keep doing what we are doing now,” said Pete LaCombe, the owner of Chili Mustard Onions in Detroit.

It’s a vegan coney place 7 Action News introduced you to two years ago when they first opened.

“This is more of a sit down (restaurant)," LaCombe said. "People come in, they love to laugh, the music, the ambience, the art.”

Even though the governor is allowing gatherings of 10 people or less with social distancing practices in place, that does not apply to businesses not mentioned in today’s announcement.

And Whitmer said she is likely to extend the stay-home order after it's scheduled to end May 28.

That means LaCombe and other restaurant owners won’t be able to open their doors yet.

“I really want to get all my staff back," LaCombe said. "I love them all. And it’s horrible for them.”

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Read our daily Coronavirus Live Blog for the latest updates and news on coronavirus.

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

Find out how you can help metro Detroit restaurants struggling during the pandemic.

See all of our Helping Each Other stories.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.