Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Gov. Whitmer announces Phase 5 reopening plans

Personal care services reopen statewide June 15

June 5, 2020
<p>Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer waves to the crowd during her second State of the State address at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing on Jan. 29, 2020.</p>

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer waves to the crowd during her second State of the State address at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing on Jan. 29, 2020.

Photo by Connor Desilets | The State News

The Upper Peninsula and greater Traverse City area can enter Phase 5 of the “MI Safe Start” plan June 10, which permits the reopening of personal care services like hair, nail and tanning salons, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced on Friday.

Phase 5 additionally allows indoor gatherings of 50 people and outdoor gatherings of 250, so long as people can adhere to social distancing guidelines. Outdoor performance and sporting venues will reopen with a capacity limit of 500. Movie theaters, convention centers, performance spaces and gyms will also be able to open their doors again.

These indoor facilities, according to the governor, must limit the number of people inside them to 25% of their maximum capacity or to 150 people, whichever is smaller.

Personal care services, including hair, massages, nails and tattoos, will reopen statewide June 15.

The move follows the governor’s advancement of the entire state into Phase 4, which allows for the reopening of restaurants and bars with 50% capacity or less on June 8, due to diminishing COVID-19 trends across the state.

The Upper Peninsula and greater Traverse City area were previously permitted to advance to Phase 4 two weeks before the rest of the state.

According to Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, or MDHHS, Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state has recorded 58,241 total cases of COVID-19 and 5,595 deaths, as of June 5.

Khaldun said the Upper Peninsula and greater Traverse City area have seen continued rates of below five cases of COVID-19 per million people per day, and the Lansing region has a rate of under seven cases per million people per day.

Due to the promising numbers and overall decline in case and death numbers, Whitmer expects the statewide advancement to Phase 5, or the “containing” stage of her reengagement plan.

“If the current trajectory continues, I do anticipate that in a few weeks, the whole state will be in Phase 5,” Whitmer said. “That is my fervent hope.”

Khaldun also announced the release of the “new and improved” MDHHS website, which will provide more information on confirmed and probable cases of the virus and testing statistics. The data will also be easier to visualize.

In regard to testing, the state has averaged over 15,000 diagnostic tests per day and is looking to administer 30,000 tests per day, according to Khaldun. She said that anyone who has symptoms, no matter how mild, should be tested.

Whitmer called on the federal government to provide further support in testing measures.

“We can’t do it alone,” Whitmer said. “That’s why the federal government really needs to help us get more people tested and ensure that people understand how simple and easy it is to get that test done.”

The governor additionally announced the director of COVID-19 workplace safety position will be filled by Sean Egan, the deputy director for labor in Michigan’s Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.

According to Whitmer, Egan will be responsible for helping to ensure businesses enact strict safety measures as they reopen.

“Reengagement is not a return to business pre-COVID,” Egan said. “We have a new workplace framework that we must accept, adopt and reinforce, day-in and day-out.”

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