Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to reopen northern Michigan by Memorial Day weekend

Restaurants and bars would be able to reopen at 50 percent capacity, in Michigan Economic Recovery Council regions 8 (the Upper Peninsula) and 6 (northern lower Michigan, including Traverse City, above).

June 1 update: Whitmer lifts stay-at-home order, will allow bars and restaurants to open

LANSING — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is allowing restaurants, bars, retail stores and offices to reopen with new restrictions by Friday in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula in time for the Memorial Day weekend..

Whitmer announced changes to her stay-at-home order on Monday afternoon during a press conference in Lansing, outlining relaxed regulations for 32 northern Michigan counties, including those around Traverse City and Marquette.

“Some regions of the state have just not been hit as hard by COVID-19, and they are in a better position to begin phasing in sectors of their economy,” the governor said in her daily press briefing.

Whitmer said she's "hopeful" her administration will be in position to announce "even more [economic] re-engagement later this week, ahead of the Memorial Day weekend." 

The state’s chief medical executive, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, said other areas of the state are “not quite ready” yet.

Although the openings coincide with the traditional start of the summer tourism season in Michigan, Whitmer encouraged continued caution to help prevent a second wave of COVID-19, the virus that has caused 51,142 illnesses and 4,891 deaths in Michigan. 

The areas that are to reopen have had a small fraction of the state’s cases: 542 cases and 52 deaths as of Sunday.

“Keep your wits about you,” Whitmer said. “Let’s not all go rushing out and force a closure eventually. What we want to do is keep moving forward.”


Under the revised order, restaurants and bars in northern Michigan can only operate at 50 percent capacity, and all reopened businesses will be required to comply with additional public safety requirements for employees and the public. 

Limited seating will mean a “new way of dining,” Whitmer said, recommending residents who dine out wear masks until they eat, wash their hands and keep six feet away from non-family members. “We’re going to be very careful, and we’re going to engage slowly.”

Local governments that “choose to take a more cautious course” still have the authority to implement their own restrictions on restaurants and bars, according to Whitmer’s office. For instance, cities, villages or townships could decide to only allow outdoor seating.

Still, residents in lower Michigan should “think long and hard before you take a trip into” the reopened regions, Whitmer said. “The whole state is watching to make sure we get this right.”

Traverse City Mayor Jim Caruthers said he hopes northern Michigan can be a "model for the rest of the state" on how to re-open safety but encouraged visitors to popular tourist towns to take extra precautions. 

"Enjoy Traverse City," he said. "Come enjoy Petoskey, Charlevoix, Harbor Springs, Ludington — all the areas that we all love along the coast, but please be mindful that we're small towns with limited abilities to take care of you should you get sick."

"We'll do our part, but everybody needs to be mindful,” Caruthers said. “So do what's right and put on your mask and come and enjoy yourselves."

Bracing for uptick in cases

Whitmer's new order allows social gatherings of up to 10 people in northern Michigan but it does not open up hotels or other overnight lodgings, and it continues to prohibit vacation rentals. 

Beginning Friday, child care providers in northern Michigan can expand operations to take care of children of waiters, waitresses and other employees going back to work. 

While proponents of reopening celebrate the decision, Traverse Bay public health officials are bracing for an uptick in cases — something that a leader of the Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department said is certain to happen once residents begin moving more freely.

“As we’re out and about in the community more, we will see more cases,” said Michelle Klein, the department's director of personal health. 

“But also, we understand that this coronavirus is not going to go away, and that was never the goal [of the stay-home order.] The goal was to help us be more prepared in our health care systems to manage things as they came.”

Klein said Michiganders tempted to travel to Northern Michigan to patronize restaurants, bars and shops should consider staying home if they live in a part of the state that has a high COVID-19 case count. She urged those who travel to bring their own groceries, stay away from public venues, and “be very mindful that you could possibly be infected, and you don’t want to expose people up here.”

Matt Cozzens, co-owner of Traverse City’s 7 Monks Taproom, welcomed the news that the Traverse Bay region’s restaurants and bars could reopen for the weekend.  Many businesses make the bulk of their annual revenue between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day.

“We had been counting it out,” Cozzins said. Now, he and his fellow Up North business owners will turn to the huge task of preparing their businesses to welcome customers with only a few days’ notice. 

Cozzens said he and 7 Monks' co-owner, Jim Smolak, will first meet with staff members to make sure they are comfortable with reopening. But he hopes to be back open for dine-in service when the restrictions lift.

“People are ready to get back to a pseudo-normal way of life,” Cozzens said, “and do it responsibly and very cleanly.”

Criticism from Republicans

Leaders in Michigan's Republican-led Legislature – who sued Whitmer in a challenge to her emergency authority – have spent weeks urging the Democratic governor to speed up her economic recovery plan and adopt a regional approach.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, said Monday he's "cautiously optimistic that the governor may be coming around to what we have known for some time, that our citizens are ready and able to safely resume daily life."

House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, called Whitmer's new order a "positive step" but added the "the vast majority of Michigan is still held captive in the nation’s worst lockdown."

State Sen. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, welcomed the news but questioned why it hadn’t come sooner for the U.P., where public health officials have confirmed far fewer COVID-19 cases than other parts of the state. As of Sunday, four U.P. counties had not confirmed any cases and only one — Marquette — had confirmed more than 50 cases since mid-March.

“Keeping us shutdown when we weren’t [seeing] a lot of benefits from that shutdown was unnecessary damage,” said McBroom, who told Bridge the governor’s office had not briefed him on the plan or sought his input. 

“I will certainly say thank you very much for whatever new freedom and relief the people up there can get as soon as possible,” he said. “We spent a lot of weeks begging for it.”

Rep. Beau LaFave, R-Iron Mountain, said U.P. residents near Wisconsin had been flocking across the border to visit businesses that reopened in that state last week. And in Michigan, he said, customers flooded the Island Casino and Resort in Harris when the tribal casino opened Saturday.

“I’ve never seen the parking lot that packed,” he said of the casino, run by the Hannahville Indian Community. “The bars and restaurants and every other business across the river in Wisconsin have been 100-percent open... since Wednesday evening.”

LaFave has repeatedly called Whitmer “emperor” because of tight controls implemented during the coronavirus pandemic but said Monday he is “really happy, frankly,” to hear she plans to allow more businesses to reopen. 

Whitmer's new order applies to businesses in the following northern lower Michigan counties: Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Crawford, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Presque Isle, Emmet. And the following Upper Peninsula counties: Gogebic, Ontonagon, Houghton, Keweenaw, Iron, Baraga, Dickinson, Marquette, Menominee, Delta, Alger, Schoolcraft, Luce, Mackinac, Chippewa.

Whitmer previously outlined a six-phase plan to begin re-opening the economy and grouped all 83 counties into phase three.

Her new order effectively moves northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula into the fourth phase, Whitmer said, even though her plan did not call for restaurant and bar re-openings until phase five.

Asked about that inconsistency, Whitmer suggested many local communities will only allow outdoor dining and said the state will "really work with the restaurants to make sure that they've got all the right protocols."

The governor told reporters she is basing economic decisions on both data and local "context," drawing a distinction between countywide spread and a COVID-19 outbreak within a facility that could be contained.

And Whitmer said she still wants to see more COVID-19 testing in northern Michigan, which she is nonetheless moving to reopen.

Marquette Mayor Jenna Smith said she was glad to hear the news, which she said would come as “a relief” for many Upper Peninsula residents who have been subject to the same restrictions as their downstate neighbors, even while confirmed cases of COVID-19 have remained far lower in the Upper Peninsula.

“I think the timing is right to take those considerations, and to slowly reopen,” Smith said. 

Smith also expressed hope that residents remain “vigilant” while returning to restaurants, bars and stores. The same goes, she said, for downstaters who may take Whitmer’s announcement as a cue to return to their Up North cabins.

“If you do make the decision to travel, just take every precaution to keep yourself and others safe,” Smith said. 

Although businesses may reopen, Smith said she expects many Yoopers to continue restricting their own movements. 

“Just because business is opened back up doesn’t mean that every resident goes to 10 stores a week,” she said.

Facts matter. Trust matters. Journalism matters.

If you learned something from the story you're reading please consider supporting our work. Your donation allows us to keep our Michigan-focused reporting and analysis free and accessible to all. All donations are voluntary, but for as little as $1 you can become a member of Bridge Club and support freedom of the press in Michigan during a crucial election year.

Pay with VISA Pay with MasterCard Pay with American Express Donate now

Comment Form

Add new comment

Dear Reader: We value your thoughts and criticism on the articles, but insist on civility. Criticizing comments or ideas is welcome, but Bridge won’t tolerate comments that are false or defamatory or that demean, personally attack, spread hate or harmful stereotypes. Violating these standards could result in a ban.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.


Mon, 05/18/2020 - 1:35pm

The median time from contraction of the virus to death is five weeks. So we'll have a nice spike in cases in two weeks and a nice spike in deaths just in time for the Fourth of July. Swell! Who cares about grandma? I gotta go fishin'!

Short memories
Mon, 05/18/2020 - 4:23pm

Wonder if people will still like Trump in November. I'm so sick of him.

Edward Shakes
Mon, 05/18/2020 - 5:35pm

Is this all people in Northern Michigan do, is 'go fishin'? They don't even "go fishing"- in your mind, the people of Northern Michigan are below you, right? Your comments show exactly what the virus has revealed in our nation- that some people think that they are better than others in spite of the fact that we are all equal in America. Your sort of bigotry and evilness has no place in a decent world, madmatthew.

UP North is UP
Mon, 05/18/2020 - 7:25pm

Well Edward, answer this: Is the earth a globe or flat?

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 7:31pm

I live in northern Michigan and yep I pretty much just fish in the summer, hunt in the winter. I'm not ashamed of that. Why are you so mortified, Edward? BTW Up here you'd be "Ed". You are the one who sounds bigoted. I used to live downstate, but now I am retired and live here in Mio.

Geoffrey Owen
Tue, 05/19/2020 - 1:22am

He was being sarcastic.

Missing Obama
Tue, 05/19/2020 - 12:49pm

In the way Trump was about ingesting disinfectant or the real way. I can't tell if Trump is being sarcastic about ingesting Hydroxychoroquine. I mean, he is morbidly obese and all. I wish he would stop being sarcastic.

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 12:30am

When should we start reopening? When the vaccine is widely in use in 2022? You may be able to wait until then. Good for you. Most can't or won't.

Defense Prod Act
Tue, 05/19/2020 - 9:22pm

Businesses want ubiquitous testing and mask usage. I do too.

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 9:15am

Agreed, but do you think we should take precautions?

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 11:59am

madmatt "The median time from contraction of the virus to death is five weeks." So you think everyone who contracts this virus dies? I'm hearing the death rate is somewhere between .1 and .5 percent. Hardly a death sentence. And most who do succumb are elderly past the median life expectancy age with underlying medical issues. And many who were forced by democratic officials to enter nursing homes who are not equipped to deal with this virus. Maybe a little study of and understanding real facts would be wise. Listening to the MSMs constant death porn fantasies will rot your brain and distort reality. The truth is out there for those willing to seek it.

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 9:18am

"The truth is out there for those willing to seek it."

Terry, just one question: Is the Earth flat?

MSM Hoax?
Wed, 05/20/2020 - 9:40am

Terry, do you know anyone who works in an ICU or a cemetery? That way you don't have to trust the MSM so much. I mean firsthand knowledge really is the best, if you can get it.

Fri, 05/22/2020 - 3:52am

Mortality rate in Michigan is NOT .1 -.5%. Rate of death is 1/20th of 1%. Nationally it is LESS than 3/100ths of 1%. IT is only 60% of the mortality rate of he 1968-69 flu and, worldwide, only 65% of the annual rate of deaths from TB.

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 1:04pm

Keep drinking that Kool-Aid(tm). There are a limited number of people with underlying health conditions. These are the only people at risk. They should be quarantined. The rest of us are exercising our Liberty.
If you'd like to move to China, I'm sure you would get along with that government quite well!

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 1:49pm

Looks like a case of "Leading from Behind". Push people to the point of rebellion and then give a little. Dr Khaldun's credibility is zero after the false statements she made on NBC TV about Michigan's rural hospital capacity. Not much leadership being shown. Unfortunate, because this disease is not going away anytime soon. The answer, of course, is to isolate and protect the most vulnerable, while encouraging the younger, healthier folks to work. This has really been the only viable solution for some time. Anyone who argues otherwise is selling something.

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 7:24pm

Are you Shelley Lewis from Dana Point, California?

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 2:06pm

Isn't Traverse City and Northern Counties of Lower Michigan region 7 not 6?

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 7:41pm

Theres 2 regional maps so confusing. One is heath department's - in that one TC is in # 7.
But, the regional sectioning put out for this virus shows TC as 6 and 7 is down at ohio border.
So, 6 is pretty much everything north of clare and standish.

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 12:50pm


Tue, 05/19/2020 - 9:35am

I thought the same thing, but the Michigan Economic Recover Council Reporting Regions, which are what they refer to when they talk about reopening, are not the same as the Healthcare Coalition Regions, which are what they refer to when they talk about COVID-19 stats. (Confusing, right?)

The former are illustrated here...

And the latter here...

Jeezus Cripe
Wed, 05/20/2020 - 9:43am

Just look at the maps in the article, since you're having such a difficult time.

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 2:30pm

How can she allow this? It could cost lives. What about the second wave? Down staters bringing their filthy viruses up north and overrunning the hospitals! Not sufficient testing? No vaccine! Does she not care about the vulnerable? Does she only care about money? Ventilators? Climate change? Racism? What about all these?? Keeping everyone locked up for the next year (or two) is a small price to pay for keeping us safe after all Ann Frank did it ... before she was killed!

Al Churchill
Mon, 05/18/2020 - 8:09pm

After reading the many horrible condemnations aimed at Governor Whitmer relative to this and other articles, one wonders if there is anything that the lady could do that would bring about a positive response from her critics.
If Matt, with no last name, is generally disparagingly present among those who find no virtue in either the Governor or her behavior, his current commentary represents one of his lesser efforts. Malicious and snide nevertheless.
Another critic, suggesting that he was among and representative of we the people, pretty well hinted that Governor Whitmer was leading us to war. Mindless and irresponsible.
It must irk the detractors of the Governor to know that they are in a minority. An AP-NORC poll shows that about 61% of Americans feel the steps taken by government officials to prevent infections of COVID-19 is just about right. They have been overwhelmingly in favor of stay-at-home orders.
The Governors cautious, science-based approach to COVID-19 was intended to save lives and has done just that. The attacks upon her are often partisan and unwarranted.
Her performance stands head and shoulders above another politician, who on given dates has said:
Jan. 22 “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China.”
Feb 2 We pretty much shut it down coming in from China. It’s going to be fine.”
Feb. 25 “I think that’s a problem that’s going to go away. In fact, we’re very close to a vaccine.
Feb 26 “The 15 cases within a couple of days is going to go down close to zero.”
Feb. 27 “One day it’s like a miracle. It will disappear.”
Mar 10 “It will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.”
Etc., etc., etc. Currently, 1.5 million people have tested positive for COVID-19, approaching 100,000 deaths. Not one of the usual suspects, demeaning Governor Whitman, dares referral to Donald Trump’s dismal record during an ongoing pandemic.
Contrary to the narrative that her, largely partisan, detractors wish to create, there is much positive that can be attributed to Gretchen Whitmer. Thank you Governor.

Love Big Gretch
Tue, 05/19/2020 - 1:01pm

Thank you for your post. I feel the same way and appreciate your taking the time to set the record straight. As to the last part, to the contrary, some of these Trump supporters actually think he's doing a great job. At what? I don't know, tweeting, golf, crazy medical advice? He's too afraid to invoke the Defense Production Act which would help immensely with so many things. He only seems fixated on dividing us and getting reelected at any cost, with great disregard for our lives, let alone the lives of his most ardent constituents, senior citizens who seem to be especially disposable right now.

Anne B
Tue, 05/19/2020 - 1:22pm

You are spot on, Al. Whatever she does there are people (GOP) who just can't get over the fact that "the woman" from Michigan has more leadership skills than many of their own party, including the so-called 'leader' in the WH. And the fact that she's an intelligent woman must really sting those in the good ol' boys group (GOP) also.

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 1:05pm

Fascinating that you equate tyranny with "leadership".
You would have hated all the young men and women who died for your freedom.
Why don't you move to china? Then you could eat the people you disagree with.

Trump Tyrannical
Tue, 05/19/2020 - 1:42pm

Hey Matt, your boy Trump just agreed to extend his border shutdown until June 21. What a dictator! Why can't I go to my cottage in Canada? I understand Trump is a big carefree spending socialist, but is the US now communist CUBA where we can't leave if we want? Why does he keep extending his power without consulting the legislature?

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 9:22am

Isn't it ironic? Whitmer is opening the economy and Trump is extending the closure, but they call HER a tyrant and he's liberating Michigan!

Big Gretch Love
Mon, 05/18/2020 - 2:40pm

"Previously, the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association (MRLA) publicly urged Whitmer to allow restaurants to reopen for on-premise dining on May 29, the day after the governor's current stay-at-home order expires.

The MRLA also issued a 26-page guidebook for restaurants planning to reopen. The document includes prescriptive measures such as employee temperature screenings, mandatory glove and facemask policies for employees, rearranged dining rooms that allow for six-foot social distancing measures and a template health questionnaire to be administered to diners at the operator's discretion.

Many of the MRLA's prescriptions are also mandatory under the governor's new order, which include establishing a COVID-19 response plan and training staff on proper PPE usage."

Thank you for working with the industry, governor, letting them help make the guidelines.

Mike Hunt
Mon, 05/18/2020 - 2:48pm

I like the governor's cautious approach.

Andy S
Mon, 05/18/2020 - 7:38pm

Yes, it's better to set a date and be able to open earlier, than set a date only to be told later we are not yet ready. The GOP wanted to give everyone false hope and pressured her from the beginning with arbitrary early dates. She instead is working with the scientists and industry leaders looking at the facts as they unfold. Yes "she's leading from behind" behind the SCIENCE and INDUSTRY.

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 2:58pm

Finally, now the spikes will be everywhere in the state!

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 2:59pm

Gretch, way to stick it to Shirkey! That'll teach him to control his "jackasses".

Mac Chiavelli
Wed, 05/20/2020 - 9:26am

Actually I think Shirkey wants Chatsfield's district to be the guinea pigs. Shirkey is much smarter than Chatfield.

Pure Michigan Love
Mon, 05/18/2020 - 3:22pm

I can't wait to enjoy our family cottage! I can't speak for others, but we'll keep to ourselves, bring our own food, use sanitizer at the gas pump. Wish we could do more for the local economy, but the risks are too high for both us and the locals, too many tourists and careless yahoos who don't take precautions.

Despite the easing of restrictions, we won't go to any bars, restaurants, or shops to needlessly spend money and mix with people who may be carriers of the virus. We'll only shop in absolute emergencies for essentials. When we do, we'll wear a mask and take precautions.

Hopefully the Senate and Trump will pass the House stimulus bill to help the working people, the ones who ironically vote for Trump.

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 10:18am

I agree. Andrew Yang was right.

Be honest
Mon, 05/18/2020 - 3:30pm

50% capacity? They'll be lucky if they get 10% capacity. It's not like the economy in Northern Michigan was so great BEFORE COVID19. Trump sucks. Other than the golf courses in the richest areas, who is going to want to go shopping or eating in restaurants? The restaurants won't even be able to cover their costs to operate.

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 5:37pm

Just a word of advice- once you're allowed to, you should get that Tourette syndrome looked at. Your involuntary spastic 'Trump sucks' vocalizations probably reveal deeper psychological issues that you need addressed by professionals.

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 7:53pm

Now now, are you on Trump's latest regimen of Hydroxychloroquin? I guess lights and Lysol didn't work on him. Such a stable genius! LOL

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 1:16am

I'll bet they'll be so many folks wanting to eat out that people will get turned away. People are so ready to get back to some form of normalcy. When I go out to the store you wouldn't know there was a pandemic other than all the masks. Lots of downstate folks are already here btw.

Must be nice
Tue, 05/19/2020 - 1:09pm

Oh sure, especially with all that stimulus money that Moscow Mitch thinks is unnecessary. I just can't wait to spend what little I have on eating in a restaurant, instead of buying groceries and safely eating at home. Nothing says freedom to us more than a bunch of reckless MAGA freaks breathing on us.

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 1:18pm

SD, make that bet! You'll be eating crow. You are as delusional a Trump with all his pent up demand BS. We are in a depression, fool.

UR Nuts SD
Wed, 05/20/2020 - 9:29am

Hey SD, do you do stand up?

Here's one for you: I'm just dying for a pasty!

Folks wanting
Wed, 05/20/2020 - 9:32am

SD, "Waiter, do you have any smoked whitefish with PFAS or a local PFAS beer?"

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 11:45am

I plan to call my favorite breakfast spots to see which ones will be open Friday morning. And Friday night we will be going out to eat. I will wear a mask, have hand sanitizer along, and tip generously. I'm so thankful the UP is opening up, and I hope we can all enjoy our freedom sensibly. It's about time!

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 9:36am

You don't have to social distance. There won't be many other dumb people risking their lives, unless the weather is nice and the food is served outside.

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 9:58am

Big spender! Guess you got a good government bailout deal.

Math Sux
Mon, 05/18/2020 - 4:04pm

So all the knuckleheads from downstate and F.I.P.'s will be here right on must be spring.

I am glad I really don't like people/crowds and have went about my life with essentially no disruption since this Chinese Bat Bug made so many citizens run about like the world was ending.

Cricket cricket
Mon, 05/18/2020 - 7:56pm

Hermit says what?

middle of the mit
Tue, 05/19/2020 - 10:42pm

Notice how he calls it a bat bug.......demeans Chinese as bat eaters and then understates the disease?

Just sayin'
Tue, 05/19/2020 - 1:16pm

MS, please stay hidden, out of sight. I'm allergic to ignorant bigots, especially ones with an inferiority complex.

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 9:34am

Math, way to bite the hand that feeds you.

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 9:55am

People are calling it "TrumpFluGate".

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 4:17pm

We urgently need testing and testing supplies to open our economy safely. Then if anyone tests positive, they can voluntarily stay home for two weeks.Otherwise none of us knows if we are spreading the virus, including employees. We need to address the testing shortcoming from a national perspective, employ the Defense Production Act.

Regina Weiss
Mon, 05/18/2020 - 5:40pm

Ahh, but none of us knows if we are not spreading the virus either. That's the difference between you fascist progressives and me- I look at a healthy, happy, productive individual and assume that they are not sick or dying, and you look at them and see them as a plague carrier that must be put under house arrest.

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 7:59pm

Ah, but Regina, I can shop for groceries where I want and you can't. Ask Shelley in Dana Point.

Moscow Mitch
Mon, 05/18/2020 - 4:19pm

On the recent House stimulus package:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Monday that he's in "constant communication" with the White House about the federal government's response to the coronavirus pandemic but that there isn't yet a need for Congress to pass additional legislation.

"We're basically assessing what we've done already. I'm in constant communication with the White House and if we decide to go forward we'll go forward together," McConnell told reporters.

Moscow Mitch
Mon, 05/18/2020 - 4:21pm

"I don’t think we have yet felt the urgency of acting immediately. That time could develop, but I don’t think it has yet," McConnell added.

Must be nice, hmmm, I wonder if he's waiting until we are closer to November.

Gerald Sheds
Mon, 05/18/2020 - 5:32pm

Awesome! It would have been great to plan for this in advance or have some sort of metrics in order to figure out if a certain region was getting close to opening up, but the totally whimsical and random nature of opening up Michigan's economy makes the child in me cheer with joy. Any Governor who had any experience in the private sector would have realized it takes more time than 4 days to plan for re-opening a business, but whatever- the sudden and unpredictable nature of Whitmer's dictates only adds to the drama of being a Michiganian!

The governor told reporters she is basing economic decisions on both data and local "context", whatever the heck that is. That's probably not the sort of solid foundation on which to open up Michigan's economy and make major economic decisions, but again- the Chinese have long had a curse that says you should live in interesting times, and the Governor is certainly making working and living in Michigan interesting!

Lakeshore fan
Mon, 05/18/2020 - 7:25pm

She realized the holiday weekend was coming and wanted the option to dine out while visiting her cottage. She has no idea what it takes to open a business that has been closed for over two months. She probably thinks you just unlock the door and turn the lights on. Viola! It’s open!

Whitmer fan
Tue, 05/19/2020 - 1:24pm

No need to eat out. She has the governor's mansion, not a cottage. She probably works more in a month than you in your whole life and her job is much more important as the leader of a state with 10 million people. What do you run, an ice cream or a pizza shop? That's all there is up north, unless you live in a five million dollar mansion by the bay. There are a few more choices for the GOP elite.

Lakeshore fan
Mon, 05/18/2020 - 7:28pm

She realized the holiday weekend was coming and wanted the option to dine out while visiting her cottage. She has no idea what it takes to open a business that has been closed for over two months. She probably thinks you just unlock the door and turn the lights on. Viola! It’s open!

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 9:57am

Wrong no matter how many times you say it.

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 7:59pm

Interesting. She is opening up parts of the state and gets criticized. She had us under lockdown (which I agree with and fully support) and she was criticized. Looks like whatever she does she is wrong,huh? Hmmm.....

Whine whine whine
Mon, 05/18/2020 - 8:02pm

Snowflake, you get to reopen, you don't have to if you don't want to.

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 8:17am

Jerry, I just spoke with COVID19 and he said you're pissing him off.

Get Real
Wed, 05/20/2020 - 9:52am

Gerald, how much time does a business need to prepare when hotels, motels, B&B's are all still closed? The travelers are not like a dam breach in Midland that will be flooding into local businesses. It consist of some campers and a few very rich people that will bring their Grey Poupon from one home to another. Campers will also bring their on supplies from the COVID19 canned goods stockpile.

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 9:53am

The businesses that open will not even be able to cover their costs.

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 5:59pm

Are hair salons considered a retail establishment?

Long beautiful hair
Mon, 05/18/2020 - 8:01pm


Fake protesters
Wed, 05/20/2020 - 10:00am

Hey Sasha, the only complainers are the shop owners. The actual beauticians have never been making more money, tax free.

Geoffrey Owen
Tue, 05/19/2020 - 1:20am

Opening with caution seems sensible. I am concerned about those who recklessly endanger others by shopping without masks, as if they never heard of wearing them. Are we going to behave like Wisconsin? I live in Presque Isle County between Alpena and Rogers City. While the population is small, the infection rate and the death rate are very much the same as Europe. Caution needs to be the norm until this improves. The health departments and State and local police need to monitor behaviors. You wouldn't like to get e-coli or salmonella or coronovirus after eating out, I trust we might consider the Covid19 virus a danger as well.

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 7:51am

If you live in such fear why do you go out at all? Or rather than wish for a a police state to enforce every personal health and safety fad rolling out of some wanna be 15 minute expert who couldn't find Presque Isle if their life depended on it, turn off the tube and radio and think for yourself.

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 10:05am

You are telling him what to think and finish by saying think for yourself. When he thinks for himself, you mock him.

Alex Chance
Tue, 05/19/2020 - 10:47am

Myself, I will make the necessary offerings to the Chinese Virus God. I will wear the required head scarves, chant the words of power ('stay home stay safe,' 'national defense act,' etc), follow the social rules dictated to me and keep an arbitrarily chosen distance between myself and all people, I will make the proper offerings and destroy my wealth by shutting down my business, I will oppose all who want to think critically on this issue, I will remain isolated and yell at anyone else who doesn't stay isolated, I will follow the other arbitrary rules dictated to us by Our Dear Leader Whitmer, I will demand that everyone be utterly and without question loyal to the Governor and oppose any oversight or limitations on her, I will avoid my family, and I will not go to Church.

These things I all vow to do to honor the Chinese Virus God, because I am in a cult and in this post I was simply listing all of the signs that go along with being in a cult.

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 10:03am

Are you a TrumpFluGate follower or not?

I call BS
Wed, 05/20/2020 - 10:11am

There's the Whitmer approach and the Trump approach. She saved lives while he has a record for the most COVID 19 deaths of any other country in the world. Critical thinking does not mean criticize, it means analyze. Are you happy with the Trump socialism and border closures? Are you happy with the do nothing approach? If so, open a cemetery or funeral home and business will continue to boom, but most people will have to opt for mass graves because jerks like you will keep us all unemployed forever.

So sad
Tue, 05/19/2020 - 1:33pm

You tell me Google: Shelley Lewis of Dana Point, California. She is a flatearther who refused to wear a mask when entering a grocery store. You know it's REALLY BAD when even a MAGA supporter thinks she's an idiot. Here is a video with MAGA commentary:

Reckless is as reckless does.

The poor employee says he's happy just to have a job because he used to be a bartender and lost his job. Meanwhile she's acting like an entitled petulant child demanding to enter the private property without a mask, even though it's clearly posted you have to wear a mask and the manager tries his best to accommodate her, by offering a mask, doing her shopping for her, etc.

Steve Self
Tue, 05/19/2020 - 3:22pm

It seems sensible but asking the masses to self-discipline and follow the guidelines is inane. It's not working as we all see on the news every night. And law enforcement is not going to be any help. The local DA and Sheriffs are on record saying they are not enforcing the state orders.
Where I live, we started today to buy up all the supplies and fuel we need to get by for the next 3-4 months until the tourists leave town. None of us up here are planning a trip to mingle with those infected transient crowds in the bars or restaurants. Several employees at the local grocery store told me they are quitting before Friday. Can't imagine what pairs with a Covid-19 steak and fries order. Red Wine?

Same here
Wed, 05/20/2020 - 10:16am

Many of us planned better than our government and are managing. A lot is done with online shopping and business. Are the restaurants in northern Michigan more special than the restaurants elsewhere in the country? Andrew Yang was right. He may be out of the race, but he enlightened all of us about the harsh realities of today and gave us a path forward. I don't see anyone else with his great ideas.

Don't get it
Wed, 05/20/2020 - 10:23am

Funny thing, Steve, the masses have been staying home on their own because they know and understand the wrath of the virus. It's this reckless attitude towards reopening, refusal to wear masks that is really hurting us unnecessarily. Trump made it sound like warm weather will make it go away magically, it won't. Seasonal flu might be waning and there is more space in hospitals, but COVID19 is here to stay until we have a vaccine. We can open the economy, but only with due care. I don't understand the fuss. Would anyone want a surgeon not to scrub before performing a surgery on them?????? It's the same concept.

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 7:24am

Many Americans protesting across the country firmly believe the Democrats would be more than willing to completely destroy the economy if it meant getting rid of President Trump. They’ve tried everything else. American citizens aren’t willing to sacrifice their homes, careers, jobs and businesses, 401K for another leftist attempt to remove a President.

Democrat Platform & Goals:
(Democrat Taxpayers pay close attention, you’ll pay too)

-End all deportations of illegal aliens, if you get here, you stay. Bernie’s website calls it a “moratorium” on deportations.
Democrats Yes.
Republicans No.

-Citizenship for 20 to 50 million illegal aliens, DACA & TPS recipients with a cost of billions. Democrats Yes. Republicans No.

-De-fund & terminate border patrol & ICE.
Democrats Yes.
Republicans No.

-Free Health Care for Illegal aliens, DACA, TPS recipients (taxpayer funded with one estimate at 52 trillion)
Democrats Yes.
Republicans No.

-Ending of all private / employer based health care. “Medicare for all”, Feds run everything.
Democrats Yes.
Republicans No.

-Illegal Aliens eligible for welfare & food stamps. (Elizabeth Warrens plan adopted) Democrats Yes.
Republicans No

-Free college for all, including illegal aliens (taxpayer funded estimates in the billions. If you vote Democrat, don’t expect to put Junior in college…..BUT you will finance the education of illegal aliens. Democrats Yes. Republicans No.

-Decriminalization of illegal entry into our country.
Democrats Yes.
Republicans No.

-Sanctuary Cities & States.
Democrats Yes.
Republicans No.

-Open Borders.
Democrats Yes.
Republicans No.

-Massive tax increases. All Democrat candidates have committed to tax increases of various amounts.
Democrats Yes tax increases.
Republicans No tax increases.

-Reparations for race’s harmed by Caucasians. Joe committed this to “Reverend” Al Sharpton, support for Sheila Jackson Lee’s racist reparations bill in the House. Democrats Yes.
Republicans No.

-Drivers licenses for illegal aliens.(already happening in states with Democrat leadership) Democrats Yes.
Republicans No.

-Opposed to ANY voter ID Laws.(Nancy Pelosi wanted this amendment in the first corona virus bill) I wonder why?
Democrats Yes.
Republicans No.

-AOC’s green new deal.(which would create massive unemployment, 100,000 jobs estimated in the transportation industry alone.)
Democrats Yes.
Republicans No.

There is no moderate wing of the Democrat party people. If you vote for Joe Biden, you are voting for Bernie Sanders, or Elizabeth Warren’s platform.. Joe will follow the radical left’s agenda or Joe won’t get the support and he is…. of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Valerie Jarrett,. Rashida Talib, Stacy Abrams, Ayanna Pressley, Nancy Pelosi, Sheila Jackson Lee, Tom Perez, Maxine Waters, Al Green, and llhan Omar. This is the core of the socialists leftist wing of the Democrat party and they are firmly in charge.. Most or all have already endorsed Joe Biden, so he obviously has committed to their agenda.

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 9:30pm

You realize Dems won all the statewide elections in Michigan, right? That was before we even started addressing gerrymandering. So you can cut and paste your nonsense until you are blue in the face, but come November with no reason absentee voting, there will be a Blue Tsunami across our country, another time that the GOP left us in shambles for the Dems to fix.

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 10:25am

Thank God Trump gave us a socialist bailout, right?

Mark Dobias
Tue, 05/19/2020 - 9:16am

Great. We get to be test subjects in an epidemiological experiment. The UP is a clean Petri dish which is about to be inoculated. At least there will be a starting point for the case study.
Mackinac Island will be particularly interesting to watch. Especially the infection numbers when the Detroit Chamber is supposed to meet in August.
It's all for theater. Chatfield has "delivered" his district. The Governor will make a triumphant speech. And we are going to see just how unforgiving this invisible virus is. Just as harmful as ideologies.

middle of the mit
Tue, 05/19/2020 - 11:09pm


You just hit the nail with a hammer and hit it deeeeeep!

Hopefully we are doing rough framing!

Who will we trust after this?

Once you open the North,

The South can't resist.

Remember in November.

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 10:29am

Yeah, since this is a MSM hoax, why did the Detroit Chamber change the dates? I'm kind of glad all the grandpoobahs will be on an island together. We should encourage the 2nd amendment crowd to meet there at the same time. Then they can all stew in the petri dish.

Ron D.
Tue, 05/19/2020 - 1:53pm

I don't understand the Governor's comments. The latest stay home order specifically prohibits travel to the U.P. or up north by people who don't have a residence there. It specifically says I must stay home. How can a person in Detroit or Jackson drive to Traverse City and go to a restaurant? Under the current order I could maybe drive up to walk on a beach (which I could already do) but I am specifically prohibited under her current order from going into any restaurant or bar in all of Michigan. I live in Jackson.

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 10:31am

It means there will be limited travel. It's a test to see how people do.

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 3:11pm

The invasion of our U.P. and Up North regions has begun. I live up here and we all took the mask-up thing seriously and limited shopping to necessities only. That’s one reason our number of cases was low. But I guess they want to boost our Covid-19 numbers up to match the downstate areas.
And what is our defense against the untested mob coming to occupy us? We expect them to “Be mindful. “Bring their own groceries, stay away from public venues. Do what’s right, put on your masks”. “Take extra precautions. Think long and hard; consider staying home”
Right. Ain't gonna happen. Every night on the news we see just how well that self-control thing is working out for all of us. They gonna be like a pack of mad dogs let out of a box running in a park.
Vacation rentals prohibited? That’s not being enforced by our local DA or SOs. They are on public record stating that they will only enforce laws they agree with. I know of several “extended” family member visitors staying in nearby rental houses.

“We will see more cases” they say. Really? You think?

Yes, we will certainly set an example up here. My forecast for up here is new record high cases in my county by June 13th. Just a guess but I will bet my stimulus check on it.
Someone “expressed hope that residents remain “vigilant” while returning to restaurants, bars and stores.”
Nope, us "residents" up here are NOT returning to restaurants and bars or stores during the occupation. Starting today, many of us clearing out the stores for anything and everything we need to get us thru the next 90 days. By then the invaders will be gone – either buried or back to where they came from.

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 10:43am

So you think we should stay closed? You should make your feelings known to Lee Chatfield, local representatives. They have been lobbying with the screaming mob of armed protesters for the opposite. Your local officials should follow the law and your legislators should see to that. They seem more concerned about the economy than saving lives and jeopardizing the economy in the process. Taking precautions is the only way to achieve a modicum of a return to any kind of normalcy.

Great news
Wed, 05/20/2020 - 9:41am

Funeral homes and cemeteries will get a great bump in business. Too bad we'll have to shutdown again and again. So if the waiters want to dig graves, things will even out.

G. Jordan
Wed, 05/20/2020 - 11:19am

Are vacation rentals in the opened regions still banned?

Fri, 05/22/2020 - 4:09am

Can a lot of these commentors put a lid on the hysteria? Infection rate in MI is LESS than 9/16ths of 1% ( .0054 %) and the mortality rate is 1/20th of 1% (.000515%) You have a 28 times greater chance of being injured or killed in an accident with a vehicle (car, bike, bus, truck, train, snowmobile, ATV) than catching this virus. US rate is infection 15/32ths of 1% ( .0048%) with a mortality rate of 3/100ths of 1% (.0003%) The 1968-69 flu killed 40% more people and the world did NOT shutdown. 1.500,000 people worldwide die of TB (largely drug resistant now) EVERY YEAR vs the 325,000 worldwide of this virus - and the world does not shutdown . TO match the 1918 flu (still untreatable today) there would be over 481,000 dead in the US in just the past 3 months vs 94,000 --- and the world did not shutdown for that . From the NHS data, less than 4.6% f people who died have not had a DIAGNOSED underlying condition - they could have had a health condition that has not been diagnosed. Hint for large parts of Michigan - fat is not good and causes diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiac disease & kidney disease --- and gets you dead with the virus. Detroit metro area = 49% fat vs Traverse/Leelanau at 23% fat with a 1/50th of 1% infection rate & a mortality rate of .000003%. Mass hysteria is a bore

Fri, 05/22/2020 - 5:30pm

The contradicting "expert" info throughout the past 10 weeks is laughable. The left's political agenda since the start of this virus is pathetic. Michigan's governor is a sub par copy cat leader who second guesses her own decisions and hopefully disappears after one term should we even survive the remaining 2.5 years left. Hope she ends up as Biden's bimbo mate and leaves early.
Vote at the polls not by mail in November!