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Retailers, bars, restaurants in U.P., Traverse City region allowed to open for Memorial Day weekend

Posted by: jgomori Posted date: May 18, 2020

By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor

Gov. Whitmer announced she will reopen retail stores, bars and restaurants in the Upper Peninsula and Traverse City area in time for the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Whitmer’s Executive Order provides for the reopening of these establishments with limitations effective just after midnight Friday, May 22. She described the move as more of an “outdoor dining experience” with some indoor dining limitations.

Office work in these areas will also resume if work cannot be done remotely. Other types of businesses, including movie theaters, fitness centers, and hair and nail salons are not included in the Executive Order.

Bars and restaurants will have to limit capacity to 50 percent and must follow rigorous disinfection protocols. Groups will be required to stay six feet apart and servers will have to wear face coverings.

“These rules are not optional. They will be enforced,” Whitmer said.

While travel to the area is permitted, campgrounds will not be available for overnight stays. Whitmer, Traverse City Mayor Jim Carruthers, and business representatives urged patrons to wear masks, wash their hands, and maintain social distancing.

“… We must be mindful that wearing masks and continuing to practice social distancing is a must to make this work,” Carruthers said. “Stopping the spread of this virus is still key and if we can’t, then we will have to close it down again.”

The entire Upper Peninsula and 17 counties in the northern Lower Peninsula will reopen as follows: Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Crawford, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Presque Isle, and Emmet. The two regions are the first of Michigan’s eight regions to move into Phase 4 of the governor’s MI Safe Start Plan to reopen the economy during the coronavirus pandemic. The reason, she said, is the two areas have far fewer coronavirus cases and deaths than other areas in Michigan.

Click on the links below for more information in Executive Order 92, Safeguards to Protect Michigan Workers in Executive Order 91, and a comparison between states regarding COVID-19 pandemic response and statistics.

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