Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Monday moved to further reopen the Midwest state’s economy, largely rescinding a stay-at-home order in place since March and allowing retailers and restaurants to open back up over the next week.
Whitmer’s new executive order will allow retailers to reopen on Thursday and restaurants on June 8, both subject to capacity limits. Effective immediately, groups of 100 or less will be allowed to gather outdoors with social distancing, and office work that cannot be done remotely can resume.
“The data has shown that we are ready to carefully move our state into the next phase,” Whitmer said in a statement. “While Michiganders are no longer required to stay home, we must all continue to be smart and practice social distancing.”
Michigan, one of the states hit hardest by the outbreak, has had one of the stricter stay-at-home orders. Whitmer had been criticized by business leaders and President Donald Trump, and faced protests over her orders. She has been gradually reopening different segments of the state economy as the infection rate has flattened.
Whitmer on Monday added that her goal was to announce a shift to the next phase, which would allow most businesses as well as schools to reopen, before July 4. She said state residents must continue to wear face masks when in enclosed public spaces.
Subject to local regulations, gyms and fitness centers may conduct outdoor classes or games provided participants maintain six feet of distance from others. Outdoor pools can reopen with restricted capacity.