More than six weeks since Michigan's first COVID-19 case confirmation, the state took a big step on Friday by loosening restrictions.
Backed by a plateauing of new cases, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has loosened restrictions on business and travel with a new stay-home order that will extend until May 15. It's the first relaxing of rules since an emergency declaration was made March 10.
Each lessened restriction comes with a mandate that businesses maintain strict social distancing guidelines.
Under the new order, several nonessential businesses can reopen. They include:
- Lawn-service companies
- Bike Repair Shops
Additionally, retailers that don't sell necessary supplies can reopen and deploy curbside pick-up and delivery. Big box stores that previously closed off areas like garden centers can reopen those departments.
For those that would like to participate in outdoor activities, they can play golf and ride on motorized boats. However, golf carts are not allowed under the lessened restriction. State parks remain open.
For residents that would like to travel between multiple in-state residences, they are now allowed to do so. However, Gov. Whitmer strongly discouraged those individuals from making the trip unless they really need to. If they do decide to make the trip, they're asked to avoid going into public spaces like grocery stores and retailers due to the threat that COVID-19 poses to rural hospitals that lack the capacity that larger health care systems have in Southeast Michigan.
Michigan's previous rules were among the country's most restrictive due to the magnitude of COVID-19's outbreak in the state. Upon the announcement earlier in April, citizens and lawmakers became more vocal of the governor's decision, arguing it was adding a marginal benefit and unfairly hurting the state's economy.