"We know that our efforts are working here in Michigan. We have built up our stores of PPE, we have seen declining cases, as well as declining deaths. We have ramped up our testing and tracing capacities. And because of that, we are able to keep moving forward," Whitmer said.
Starting June 10, both regions six and eight, which largely include Northern Michigan, the entire Upper Peninsula and Traverse City, advance to phase five of Whitmer's MI Safe Start Plan.
"Phase five allows for the reopening of salons and movie theaters and gyms — subject, of course to the strict safety protocols and procedures designed to minimize the spread of COVID-19," she said.
Phase five additionally allows for:
- Indoor gatherings of 50 and outdoor gatherings of 250, as long as everyone follows social distancing guidelines.
- Outdoor performance and sporting venues to reopen with a larger capacity limit of 500.
- Personal care services including hair and nail salons, tattoo parlors and tanning salons, as well as exercise facilities.
"So that's right, you can get a haircut," she said. "This is good news. It is another positive sign that we're ready to move our economy forward safely and responsibly."
However, the reopening of these services also calls for heavy social distancing protocols.
"We're now going to have to get back to business, but it's not going to be business as usual. It is going to look a little different because we still have to learn how to live with COVID-19 and to do it well," Whitmer said.
Waiting rooms must be marked to enable at least six feet of social distancing between patrons. Special hours must be added that are only open for highly vulnerable patients, including the elderly and those with chronic conditions. Both employees and customers must make proper use of protective equipment while they are in the facility.
"That means wearing the mask over your nose and mouth," she said. "All these businesses must make it a habit to sanitize the equipment regularly used by customers."
Other businesses that are being allowed to reopen in sections six and eight include convention centers, performance spaces and movie theaters. However, indoor facilities are required to limit their capacity to 25% of the original or 250 patrons, whichever is smaller. They also need to enable customers to remain six feet apart from one another at all times.
"A family does not need to be six feet apart, but you need to be six feet apart from everyone else," Whitmer said.
On June 15, services including those provided at hair, massage, nail and tattoo parlors are opening statewide. All other regions throughout Michigan besides six and eight will remain in phase four for now.
"But if the current trajectory continues, I do anticipate that in a few weeks, the whole state will be in phase five," Whitmer said. "That is my fervent hope. It has always been our goal — to safely reengage."
In addition to the lifting of restrictions, the United States Department of Agriculture has approved the extension of food assistance for 350,000 Michiganders throughout June.
"We can't do it alone. That is why we really need the federal government to help us. That's how we continue to save lives," Whitmer said. "Please do not drop your guard now. Because of the hard work and sacrifice we made, we are now able to make this reengagement happen. Get ready, but stay vigilant."
To find a list of businesses that will remain open visit, www.michigangov.org/coronavirus.