Tuesday News Hit: Public Masses resume in Detroit, northern Michigan reopens, and father-son duo die of COVID

Blocked off pews, a collection plate that doesn't move, and strategically placed ciboriums away from the priest; Catholics, welcome to your new Mass. Beginning Tuesday, public Masses held under the Archdiocese of Detroit will reopen for the first time in almost two months. Like most other places where people congregate, it's going to look and feel very different from the traditional public mass. Churches won't exceed 25% of their total capacity, face masks will be worn in and around the place of worship, and cleaning and sanitization will be done before and after services.

How faith leaders approach their new normal amid the COVID-19 pandemic will follow a similar path that many other businesses - with a million creative solutions. Examples of this are already in effect after photos surfaced of a priest using a squirt gun to distribute holy water into patron's vehicles. The Archdiocese of Detroit has released its own rules as well. 

Priests will follow guidelines posted by the archdiocese, which shared a video online that walks parishioners through each new step when they attend church. Extremely limited physical contact, spaced-out seating for those who don't live together, and social distancing measures when receiving hosts, which the priest will place in the parishioner's hand. 

"For us priests, we're ordained to serve the people of God, and being separated from them is difficult for us so there's a lot of excitement," said Father Mario Amore at the St. Aloysius Parish in Detroit.

All archdiocesan parishes plan to resume public Mass on May 29. Reopening Detroit's churches is one of the first non-business related cases of relaxing rules following months of quarantines in Michigan. The day before, the state took another unprecedented leap when some of its bars and restaurants were given the green light to reopen in-person dining.

Backed by two encouraging daily reports of low death totals linked to COVID-19, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said a slew of businesses based in the upper peninsula and the greater Traverse City area could begin operating under limited capacity. The latest move came just as some of the state's largest employers in the manufacturing sector sent their employees back to work in assembly plants.

The reopening of manufacturing and restaurants pivots Michigan's approach to curbing the pandemic's spread to a more region-based solution that balances appropriate self-quarantine rules with loosened business freedoms - decisions that lawmakers hope will reverse the state's grim economic outlook.

While Michigan as a state remains in phase three of the governor's six-phase plan to reopening, parts of the state now look more like phase five. The decision was timed with the emergence of Memorial Day, an apparent nod to Michigan's struggling tourism industry that begins thriving around the end of May.

“It’s crucial that all businesses do everything in their power to protect their workers, customers, and their families," Whitmer said. "And as we approach Memorial Day weekend, I encourage everyone to be smart and be safe. My team and I will continue to work around the clock to protect the people of Michigan.” 

Even with the state's declining death toll, the coronavirus's spread has still left a public health disaster in its wake and killed almost 5,000 residents. Two of those dead are Nate Slappey Sr. and his son Nate Slappey Jr., who died from symptoms related to the disease two days apart.

"It started at the end of March," said Nate Slappey III, the grandchild of Nate Slappey Sr. "Grandfather passed away April 30th, then my dad passed away two days later on May 2nd."

After the family's nightmare started, the elder Slappey showed signs of improvement before the virus took over. After complications and an ICU admittance, he died. Nate Jr. owned a clothing line and was the girls' basketball coach at Detroit Country Day.

Daily Forecast

Lakeshore flooding will persist even as Michigan sees the end of its precipitation.

Coronavirus pandemic puts Social Security at risk of insolvency by 2030

The coronavirus pandemic and ensuing economic collapse could push Social Security to insolvency by the end of the decade, according to new estimates.

At the end of April, the government projected that Social Security, one of the biggest federal benefit programs, would be unable to pay full benefits starting in 2035. At that point, only 76 percent of benefits could be paid out. But that was before officials accounted for the virus outbreak, which they agree will deal a substantial blow to the program.