Just four days after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that she was ushering the state into phase 4
of her reopening plan (which included lifting the stay-at-home order, reopened restaurant dining rooms, and also expanded outdoor gathering capacities from 10 to 100) Whitmer is quickly making moves to open other sectors of the economy — including, you guessed it, hair salons, among other services.
During a press conference on Friday morning, Whitmer revealed that starting June 10, the Upper Peninsula and most of northern Michigan (referred to as regions 6 and 8) will enter phase 5 of Whitmer's MI Safe Start Plan. This allows a variety of services and venues to reopen as long as they adhere to strict safety protocols and procedures designed to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Among those approved for reopening are movie theaters, hair and nail salons, tattoo parlors, tanning services, and fitness centers.
For those regions entering phase 5, an indoor gathering of up to 50 is permitted and outdoor gatherings can now include up to 250 people. Whitmer also said outdoor performance and sporting venues will be allowed to open with a capacity limit of 500, which may be able to accommodate some graduation ceremonies. Meanwhile, movie theaters, convention centers, and other indoor performance spaces will have to operate at 25% of their regular capacity or 250 people — whichever is smaller.
“Today marks another milestone in the safe reopening of Michigan’s economy,” Governor Whitmer said. “As we continue to slowly reopen different parts of our state, it’s critical that we listen to the experts and follow the medical science to avoid a second wave of infections. The good news is that we are headed in the right direction, and if the current trajectory continues, I anticipate we'll be able to announce more sectors reopening in the coming weeks. We owe it to our front line workers to keep doing our part.”
Though the rest of the state will remain in phase 4, starting June 15 Whitmer says personal services like hair, nail, and massages can start back up statewide, as long as social distancing can be achieved. Proper PPE gear must also be worn by employees and clients and businesses must offer special hours of operation for vulnerable people, including the elderly or chronically ill.
The press conference also revealed that Whitmer has appointed Sean Egan as director of COVID-19 workplace safety. She also said that food assistance for Michiganders has been extended through June, as approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service. Previous assistance was set to expire in May.
Earlier this week, Whitmer apologized to those in the hair service industry after she suggested that those folks traveling to Ohio to get their hair cut or colored during Michigan's closures simply Google how and do it themselves or just throw their hair in ponytails.
Whitmer apologized for her “offhand comment” during an appearance on the MOJO in the Morning
“I didn't mean to offend people who are in the profession,” Whitmer said. “I think that it's important, I think that it is licensed for a reason. These are professionals who take it seriously and intimately interact with the public, and that's why we have to take this very seriously about how we proceed to keep people safe.”
Owosso barber Karl Manke had become a cultural flashpoint
in recent weeks, refusing to stop cutting hair despite numerous orders to shut down.
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