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WATCH: Whitmer announces partial reopening of some of Michigan

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Governor Whitmer
Posted at 10:17 AM, May 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-18 15:18:18-04

(WXYZ) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a partial reopening of some of the state on Monday afternoon.

Related: Read the entire Executive Order calling for partial reopening of some of Michigan

Whitmer announced that the Upper Peninsula and parts of the northern Lower Peninsula will move into phase 4 of the MI Safe Start Plan. Specifically, Region 8 – the U.P – and Region 6 – the Traverse City area – of the Michigan Ecnomic Recovery Council

Retail businesses, including bars and restaurants, will be able to open with 50% capacity

“This is a big step, but we must all remember to continue doing our part to protect ourselves and our families from the spread of COVID-19,” Whitmer said in a release. “It’s crucial that all businesses do everything in their power to protect their workers, customers, and their families. And as we approach Memorial Day weekend, I encourage everyone to be smart and be safe. My team and I will continue to work around the clock to protect the people of Michigan.”

Related: Whitmer announces partial reopening of Northern Michigan & U.P. – including bars and restaurants

Whitmer also said she is hoping to announce more re-engagement later this week ahead of Memorial Day.

She also announced the singing of Executive Order 2020-91 which will establish safety protections for Michigan workers as they go back to work during the pandemic.

The order requires businesses to adhere to strict safety guidelines, come up with a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan, and make it available to employees and customers by June 1.

She also signed Executive Directive 2020-6 to appoint a Director of COVID-19 Workplace Safety within the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.

Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed executive order 2020-91 to ensure robust protections for Michigan workers as she continues to re-engage parts of the economy. This executive order requires all businesses to adhere to strict safety guidelines to protect their workers, their patrons, and their communities from infection. To foster compliance, the governor also signed Executive Directive 2020-6 to appoint a Director of COVID-19 Workplace Safety within the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO).

“The vast majority of Michigan businesses are doing their part to slow the spread of COVID-19, but we must do more to ensure Michiganders are safe at work,” Whitmer said in a release. “This executive order, and the Director of COVID-19 Workplace Safety, will help ensure employers take the needed measures to protect workers and customers from the spread of COVID-19. I will continue to work around the clock with LEO Director Donofrio and my partners in health care, business, and labor to ensure protections for every Michigan worker.”

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun took the podium to talk about the latest numbers in the outbreak – adding the state reported 773 new cases and 24 more deaths, bringing the total to 4,915 deaths and 51,915 cases since the outbreak began.

Khaldun also said they are continuing to increase testing and have done more than 15,000 tests in the last three days, which is on track with their goal.

According to Khaldun, the metro Detroit area continues to see a decline in the number of cases but there is an increase in the past week of the percent of tests that are positive.

Traverse City Mayor Jim Carruthers told people they want them to come have fun in the city but protect each other and be wise and safe.

He added that the loss of the film festival, the Cherry Festival and others has hurt the businesses in the city.

One option, he said, is possibly making Front St. a pedestrian-only street so that they can open up the restaurants.

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