One day, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer relaxed restrictions that were put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus that has killed more than 5,100 residents. The next, she extended her stay-at-home order until June 12.
Confused? There's a lot to digest over a long Memorial Day weekend, but Bridge has you covered.
Whitmer's Friday order extending her stay-at-home rules essentially leaves in place restrictions on businesses and gatherings for a few more weeks.
But those restrictions have been eased this week, as the pace of the pandemic has slowed in Michigan.
Among other things, meeting in groups of up to 10 people, retail shopping and non-essential doctor’s visits are now legal again, while restaurants and bars are able to open with restrictions in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula because those areas have far fewer coronavirus cases.
Here’s what you need to know about the latest rules:
Fire up that barbecue
Beginning immediately, groups of up to 10 people can get together for the first time since March 24.
But don’t give Grandma a hug at the family barbeque — people are still required to abide by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines with people outside of their household.
That means staying 6 feet apart from others, covering your mouth and nose with a mask or other face covering, washing your hands frequently and sticking with outdoor spaces if possible.
Retail stores and auto showrooms are open 'by appointment'
Shopping in brick-and-mortar stores will be allowed statewide “by appointment” beginning on May 26, as long as stores are limited to 10 people at a time.
Stores are also encouraged to offer curbside pickup to “mitigate outdoor lines,” Whitmer spokesperson Tiffany Brown said.
Shoppers can call ahead to the stores they’re hoping to visit if they “want to be guaranteed that (they) won't wait in line to get into the store,” said Meegan Holland, spokesperson for the Michigan Retailers Association.
But they don’t necessarily have to.
Most stores are interpreting the order to be like the appointment system at hair or nail salons, Holland said. Shoppers can go to the store without an appointment, and if there are already 10 people inside they may be told to wait outside or come back another time.
Holland said stores that were deemed essential and open amid the lockdown, such as grocery stores and big-box stores like Walmart and Target, will continue to follow the rules from earlier executive orders: Four people per 1,000 square feet for big stores and 25 percent capacity for smaller ones.
You can go back get your teeth cleaned again
Beginning May 29, non-essential visits to the doctor, dentists and veterinarians are allowed statewide for the first time since March 21.
The Michigan Hospital Association said in a statement Thursday it has enough supplies and capacity to resume service. “Hospitals are safe; please don’t delay care of any kind,” CEO Brian Peters said.
The rules are different in northern Michigan
In 32 northern Michigan and Upper Peninsula counties, the rules are more relaxed.
Restaurants and bars are open at 50 percent capacity, though they’re also required to abide by enhanced safety regulations, social distancing and mask-wearing. Local governments are allowed to further restrict rules in their towns, so some areas may only allow outdoor seating or other variations.
However, hotels and vacation rentals still aren’t open Up North. That means those who go north this weekend should be staying in privately owned cottages and residences, but Whitmer asked residents to “think long and hard before you take a trip” north to avoid spreading the virus.
While retailers in the rest of the state have to wait until after the long weekend to open, shops in the northern counties will be open. Retailers have to mark 6-foot distances for lines and remind customers that they have to wear a mask.
Office buildings for those whose work can’t be done remotely are also open in the northern counties.
For the rest of the state, much remains the same
Some things haven’t changed: People can still leave their homes to exercise, walk pets, go golfing, running, biking or boating.
Fishing and hunting allowed and most state parks are open for day use. Camping is not allowed in state parks until at least June.
People can go to grocery stores, pharmacies, banks and other places considered essential to sustaining human life. Those who work in essential industries such as agriculture, energy production, sanitation, healthcare and more are allowed to go to work in person.
People can travel between their houses, move to a new house or state, and return to their home in Michigan.
Before May 26, shoppers can buy things from retail stores, restaurants and bars for curbside pickup. The construction, landscaping, real estate and manufacturing industries are open for in-person work as long as people follow CDC social distancing guidelines.
Whitmer did not say Thursday when bars and restaurants in the lower half of the state might reopen for in-person dining or when salons, gyms and other personal care services would come back.
Things can change
Whitmer has said that health officials will closely monitor how the coronavirus responds to changes in how people are allowed to work and play. If cases start rising again, officials may reinstate some restrictions.
“We want to continue turning this dial, but we are going to stay tethered to the data and the epidemiology to know when it is safe to do that,” Whitmer said. “As you are re-engaging in some of these activities, be smart, continue to do your part. We can't drop our guard and run the risk of a second wave.”