Barbers may reopen statewide June 15, sooner in northern MI

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, tattoo parlors and massage businesses may reopen statewide June 15.

Those types of businesses, plus places like gyms, convention centers and movie theaters, are allowed to open sooner in the northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula on June 10.

Also starting June 10, the northern and Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula — labeled regions 6 and 8 in the state’s reengagement plan — will enter phase 5 of the six-phase MI Safe Start plan. That means:

  • Indoor social gatherings of up to 50 people are OK.
  • Outdoor gatherings and events of up to 250 people are permitted, as long as social distancing is followed.
  • Outdoor performance and sporting venues may reopen with a capacity limit of 500.
  • Indoor facilities like convention and performance centers may open with limited capacity of 25% or 250 people, whichever is smaller, with social distancing measures.

“This is good news. It’s another positive sign that we’re ready to move our economy forward safety and responsibly,” Whitmer said during a Friday morning briefing.

>>Executive order loosening restrictions | Order on workplace safety | Slides from briefing

The other regions of the state aren’t allowed to reopen movie theaters or other venues yet, but Whitmer said she hopes it to happen “in a few weeks.”

Earlier this week, Whitmer lifted the stay-at-home order that had been in effect since March 24, said retail stores statewide could start operating without appointments Thursday and allowed restaurants to resume dine-in service starting Monday, though with limited capacity.

But even as she loosens restrictions, the governor warned people to keep following health safety practices to keep coronavirus under control.

“Please do not drop your guard now,” Whitmer said. “Get ready, but stay vigilant.”

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As businesses reopen, they will have to follow safety procedures aimed at limiting the spread of the virus.

“That means marking waiting rooms to enable 6 feet of social distancing as people wait, adding special hours for highly vulnerable patrons including the elderly and those with chronic conditions, requiring that employees make proper use of PPE — that means wearing the mask over your nose and mouth — (and) requiring patrons to wear a face covering when they are in the facility,” Whitmer listed. “All these businesses must make it a habit to sanitize equipment regularly used by customers.”

The governor has appointed Sean Egan to serve as her director of COVID-19 workplace safety, a position she created last month. Egan is currently the deputy director for labor at the Department of Labor Economic Opportunity.

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More than 58,000 people in Michigan have contracted the virus since the outbreak began in March and nearly 5,600 deaths have been linked to it, according to state data. Updated figures will be released this afternoon on a redesigned state webpage.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive, said during the governor’s briefing that the outbreak in Michigan is on an “encouraging” downward trend.

“While there are regional differences, we are seeing continued general rates of decline in cases and deaths,” Khaldun said. “The northern Lower Peninsula, the Traverse City area, as well as the Upper Peninsula, have continued rates of below five cases per million people per day. The Lansing region now also has a rate of seven cases per million people per day. The Detroit, Kalamazoo, Jackson and Saginaw regions are all seeing less than 20 cases per million people per day. And the Grand Rapids area stands at 27 cases per million people per day; however, they are in their second straight week of a decline in cases, which is good.”

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But Khaldun continued to stress that the risk of infection is not gone and said that people, especially the elderly and those with chronic conditions and weakened immune systems, must keep following health safety practices like social distancing, wearing masks and frequently washing their hands.

Khaldun said the state averaged 15,000 daily tests for coronavirus over the last week and is now aiming for 30,000 daily, calling that a “robust level that would help us identify any new cases and swiftly contain disease.”

The state wants anyone displaying any symptoms and anyone leaving to to work to get tested. You can find a testing location near you on the state’s website.

Khaldun said the percentage of positive tests has averaged around 5% for the last two weeks.

The state has contact tracers reaching out to those who have tested positive to find out where they’ve been and calling anyone who had close contact with someone who tested positive. She said the contact tracers have set a goal of speaking with someone on 98% of calls, but that the figure is currently only around 60%. She urged everyone to pick up the phone for health departments.

 

TRACKING CORONAVIRUS

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