On June 1, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer rescinded the state’s stay-at-home order and moved the rest of Michigan to phase four of her six-phase reopening plan. Since then, with new procedures in place, retailers were permitted to reopen for in-person shopping on June 4, restaurants for dine-in service on June 8, and personal care services — including hair, massages, and nail salons — on June 15. Last week, Whitmer even announced that professional sports could return to the state, and today, she released a guide to help schools planning for in-person learning in the fall.
When the state started to reopen, Whitmer planned to move Michigan to phase five by July 4. But that won’t be happening now.
Like many states across the U.S., Michigan has seen a spike in its COVID-19 cases as it has eased up on restrictions. Today alone, the state reported 323 new cases of the coronavirus. Comparatively, the week before Whitmer rescinded the order, the average case count was 371 cases a day.
In a press conference this afternoon, Whitmer said that the state is going strong in its fight against COVID-19, but residents still need to continue to be mindful about following safety precautions. “A lot of states in the country are watching cases grow exponentially and worrying that their ICUs are filling up,” she said. “We are not in that position, but our numbers are not as strong today as they were a couple of weeks ago. So, we must keep up our guard.”
Whitmer used recent reports about a packed bar in East Lansing leading to a COVID-19 outbreak as an example of what can happen when residents aren’t careful. According to CNN, more than 100 cases are linked to the bar. “I want to be clear — this is not unique to this establishment,” Whitmer said. “It’s not unique to East Lansing. It’s not unique to Michigan. This is happening across the country, but we have to learn from this instance in Michigan.”
Whitmer encouraged Michiganders to continue to avoid crowded areas, get tested if they have symptoms, and to wear face masks. She also commended politicians like Mitt Romney, Vice President Pence, and Dick Cheney for wearing masks. “It’s not about comfort. It’s not about politics. It’s not about vanity,” Whitmer said. “It’s about doing what we need to do to get through this moment together and keeping people safe. Wearing a mask is a sign of respect…It’s how we can reduce the chance of a second wave and keep reopening our economy safely and get our kids back in school.”
To watch the entire conference, click here.