LANSING, Mich. (FOX 2) - Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer plans to reopen construction by May 7, following through on her promise to resume construction next in Michigan after a six-week shutdown due to COVID-19.
The governor will sign an executive order on Friday that will loosen her Stay Home, Stay Safe order for the construction industry.
She talked about the reopening Wednesday at her press briefing. The reopening applies to both commercial and residential construction.
"We are comfortable taking this step because it is a lower-risk enterprise as we've scored risk, and developed and worked with industry to make sure we've got appropriate protocols," she said.
Another big announcement made was the Future for Frontliners program, which promises college tuition to essential employees who worked the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The current Stay Home, Stay Safe order is in place until May 15 but Gov. Whitmer did loosen some restrictions on business and travel last week.
Whitmer first said on Monday that she would reopen construction and outdoor enterprises next in Michigan as she slowly starts to expand industries that can reopen under her executive order.
"I would anticipate in the coming days if our trajectory of hospitalizations continues to go down and our ability to test goes up, that we will go into the next low-risk category," said Whitmer, adding "and that might include some construction for instance. It might include some additional outdoor enterprises that are currently forbidden from proceeding."
Michigan saw it's first loosening of restrictions since the COVID-19 pandemic began spreading in the state on Friday when the governor amended her stay-home order to allow some nonessential businesses to reopen. Extended to May 15, residents are now allowed to travel to another in-state residence they may own, play golf and ride in motorboats.
"If we're not smart and take away social distancing, we could risk thousands getting sick," she said. "If we stay smart, we could lower the risk and protect more people."