Metro Detroit’s Latest COVID-19 Updates: May 8

A quick look at what’s happening locally
ford motor co - covid-19
Ford Motor Co. is preparing to reopen its North American production and operations this month with new precautions in place such as social distancing, as pictured above. // Photograph courtesy of Ford 

As of this afternoon, John Hopkins University has reported 3.92 million confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide and 273,034 deaths. According to the university, the U.S. has seen 1.27 million cases and 75,706 deaths. Today, a new analysis released by the National Restaurant Association said that the country’s restaurant industry has lost more than three decades of jobs in the last two months — its lowest level of employment since 1989. And California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that all his state’s registered voters will receive mail-in ballots for the November election, and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot shared a five-phase plan for reopening her city. Here’s what’s happening in metro Detroit: 

The state of Michigan today reported 680 new COVID-19 cases and 50 deaths. In total, the state has seen 46,326 cases and 4,393 deaths. [Michigan.gov

Movement Music Festival, originally scheduled to take place at Detroit’s Hart Plaza, is going virtual this year. From May 23-25, the festival will live stream Movement at Home with a lineup featuring some of the festival’s 2020 artists and surprise guests. The full lineup will be announced next week. During the virtual festival, viewers can make donations to MusiCares’ COVID-19 Relief Fund, which is assisting people in the music community affected by the pandemic. The show will be streamed on the Movement website, Facebook page, and Youtube channel as well as the Twitch channels for Beatport — an online shop that sells high-quality music downloads for DJs — and the festival’s production company Paxachau. [Movement

A new report from Redfin says that Detroit’s real estate market is experiencing the weakest housing market rebound amid the coronavirus pandemic when compared to cities such as Chicago, New Orleans, and Seattle. Detroit experienced the earliest and sharpest rise and fall in delistings. Taylor Marr, a lead economist with Redfin, says this is likely because, unlike the other three cities, real estate was not included in the list of essential services when the stay-at-home order went into effect locally. Within a 28-day period that ended on April 5, Redfin reports that about 1 in 9 homes for sale in Detroit were pulled off the market. [Redfin

Ford Motor Co. has shared more details about its plan to resume its North America production and operations this month. The return to work will happen in a phased approach, with the first phase focused on bringing back employees who can’t do their jobs remotely and resuming operations that support Ford dealers in their ability to service vehicles. The company’s North American parts depots will resume full operations on May 11, and assembly plants previously operating with three shifts will resume with two shifts on May 18 — two-shift plants will resume with one shift, and one-shift plants will resume with one. Ford officials say the gradual return to work will help workers adjust to the company’s new health and safety protocols, which include daily health self-certifications, no-touch temperature scans, and required use of face masks and, when a job doesn’t allow for social distancing, face shields. [Ford Motor Co.

Golf carts are now allowed back on Michigan courses, the Michigan Golf Course Association shared today. With the help of the Small Business Association of Michigan, the Michigan Golf Course Association received confirmation from the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity that, under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s latest executive order, golf carts can be used so long as social distancing is followed. It is also confirmed that work by starters, caddies, and golf cart staff is permitted; golf shops can be open for curbside pickup; and food and beverage services — excluding alcohol — may be provided to Michigan golfers so long as they are not served for dine-in. [Michigan Golf Course Association

The Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association is urging Gov. Whitmer to reopen dine-in service at restaurants on May 29. The association has also released its Roadmap to Reopening, a more than 20-page guide outlining how the state’s restaurants can safely reopen their dining rooms. The guide, which can be viewed in full here, encourages restaurateurs to implement practices such as expanding and establish cleaning procedures; developing a COVID-19 response team; implementing new health and personal protective equipment requirements, such as obtaining face coverings for staff and increasing hand sanitizer access; maintaining customer health by spacing out seating areas; and adjusting their menu to adapt to supply chain shortages. [Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association

As part of a new Motor City Frontline Meals program, the Detroit Pistons and McDonald’s are teaming up to provide breakfast to front line workers in Detroit. From May 11 to May 31, Detroit’s 28 McDonald’s locations will offer the city’s healthcare workers, first responders, and Detroit Department of Transportation workers free breakfast — provided at no cost by the Pistons. The deal runs from the time each store opens until 10:30 a.m., and front line workers can receive one meal a day. To receive a meal, customers must have a valid employee ID. [Motor City Frontline Meals

Three-wheeled autonomous robots called REV-1 are helping Ann Arbor restaurants deliver food to customers during the pandemic. The robot travels at a top speed of 15 miles per hour, is battery powered, and operates in bike lanes. About 500 customers, who order food through a custom-designed app, are participating in the program. Officials with Refraction AI, the University of Michigan startup that created the robot, say its pilot deployment of eight bots is doing four times as many runs since the start of the pandemic. “We had no idea how important they would become as restaurants struggle to get through the crisis and we all work to minimize person-to-person contact,” says Matthew Johnson-Roberson, co-founder of Refraction AI and a U-M associate professor of naval architecture and engineering. The company is now working with Livonia-based Roush Industries to produce 25 robots by mid-summer. [Refraction AI

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