Whitmer reopens Michigan from coronavirus in phases: What that means to you

Michigan is in the “flattening” phase of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s plan to begin reopening the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Whitmer administration says future decisions to move to the next phase will depend on a variety of factors, including testing. (Courtesy of the CDC)

May 18: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to reopen northern Michigan by Memorial Day weekend

LANSING — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday announced details of a six-phase economic restart plan and announced that Michigan is already in the third phase because coronavirus case counts are “flattening.”

That means manufacturing firms, which represent approximately 19 percent of the state’s economy, will be permitted to reopen Monday with new workplace safety rules. With Detroit’s Big Three automakers planning to open plants May 18, industry suppliers will have a one-week head start to ramp up production.

The Whitmer administration says future decisions to move to the next phase — allowing more businesses to reopen, either statewide or regionally — will depend on a variety of factors, including:  COVID-19 case numbers, positive test percentages, hospital capacity, personal protection equipment availability, testing capacity and the ability to trace contacts for persons who have tested positive. 

Advancing to the fourth phase, which would allow more retail stores and offices to reopen, could take a “couple of weeks,” Whitmer said. But it “could go faster” if justified by the data. Or “it could be slower if people drop their guard.”

 

The governor had previously said her plan would reopen certain industries by region, and that remains a possibility, she said. But as of now, Whitmer is not relaxing rules any more aggressively in the Upper Peninsula or other parts of the state with fewer coronavirus cases. 

“As we look to the next phases, there certainly could be regional differences,” she said, “and that’s why we wanted to share the thought process. It is not written in stone, but this is the ideal cadence, and the ideal next steps.” 

Restaurant dining rooms and bars would not open until phase five of the governor’s plan, which means carryout only will remain the norm for some time.  Same with education; remote learning will remain the standard until phase five. 

Whitmer’s office said the administration is also establishing work groups to advise the state on how and when to safely restart child care services, summer camps and develop plans for larger venues like sports and music arenas “so that when it is safe, there are best practices established for how to partially open in a low-risk manner.”

The plan is contingent upon Whitmer’s continued ability to issue executive orders in response to the pandemic. Republicans leaders in the Michigan Legislature, who have urged her to speed up business reopenings and allow for regional variations, on Wednesday filed a state lawsuit challenging the governor’s legal authority. 

Regardless of how fast Michigan progresses to the next phase of her recovery plan, get used to wearing face coverings or masks in enclosed public spaces. While violators are not subject to criminal penalty, masks remain required under Whitmer’s new stay-at-home order, which she extended through May 28, and will be either required or strongly recommended until the final “post-pandemic” phase. 

Public health experts say wearing masks in public can protect respiratory systems from COVID-19 by reducing the transmission of infected droplets, and research shows that mask policies are most effective when compliance is high.  

“Michigan, I’m asking you to mask up,” Whitmer said Thursday. “Wearing a mask is how we say thank you to people on the front line,” including grocery store workers, she said. 

Here’s an outline of the six phases, as announced Thursday by the Whitmer administration and modified slightly by Bridge for clarity. As noted above, Michigan is now in Phase Three but could also potentially regress, either statewide or by region, if the state is struck by a second wave. 

PHASE ONE: UNCONTROLLED GROWTH

Businesses and organizations

Retail: Limited to grocery stores and other critical retail (e.g., pharmacies) 

Public transportation: Permitted

Restaurants & bars: Available for take-out, delivery and drive-through only

Manufacturing: Critical manufacturing only

Construction: Only permitted for critical infrastructure projects

Food & Agriculture: Permitted 

Offices: Closed to all non-critical workers

Education & child care: Remote learning in K-12 and higher education, child care for critical workers

Individuals

Social distancing: In place, maintain a six-foot distance from others when outdoors / in public 

Face coverings: Required in enclosed public spaces

Gatherings: Not permitted, except for with members of your own household

Outdoor recreation: Walking, hiking, biking permitted

Quarantine/Isolation: Individuals who have confirmed or suspected COVID-19 must isolate, and any individual with a known exposure must quarantine, according to CDC and public health guidance

At-risk populations: All at-risk individuals should continue to shelter in place. Members of households with at-risk residents should be aware that by returning to work or other environments where distancing is not possible, they could carry the virus back home. Precautions should be taken to isolate from at-risk residents. Businesses should strongly consider special accommodations for personnel who are members of an at-risk population

PHASE TWO: PERSISTENT SPREAD

Businesses and organizations

Retail: Limited to grocery stores and other critical retail (e.g., pharmacies), plus curbside or delivery for nonessential retail 

Public transportation: Permitted

Restaurants & Bars: Available for take-out, delivery and drive-through only

Manufacturing: Critical manufacturing only

Construction: Only permitted for critical infrastructure projects

Food & Agriculture: Permitted 

Offices: Closed to all non-critical workers during this phase

Education & Child Care: Remote learning in K-12 and higher education, child care for critical workers

Individuals

Social distancing: In place, maintain a six-foot distance from other when outdoors / in public

Face coverings: Required in enclosed public spaces

Gatherings: Not permitted, except for with members of your own household

Outdoor recreation: Walking, hiking, biking permitted. Additional recreation allowed, including golfing and motorboating

Quarantine/Isolation: Individuals who have confirmed or suspected COVID-19 must isolate, and any individual with a known exposure must quarantine, according to CDC and public health guidance 

At-risk populations: All at-risk individuals should continue to shelter in place. Members of households with at-risk residents should be aware that by returning to work or other environments where distancing is not possible, they could carry the virus back home. Precautions should be taken to isolate from at-risk residents. Businesses should strongly consider special accommodations for personnel who are members of an at-risk population

PHASE THREE: FLATTENING (Where Michigan is at now)

Businesses and organizations

Retail: Limited to grocery stores and other critical retail (e.g., pharmacies), plus curbside or delivery for nonessential retail 

Public Transportation: Permitted

Restaurants & Bars: Available for take-out, delivery and drive-through only

Manufacturing: Permitted with additional safety measures and guidelines

Construction: Permitted with additional safety measures and guidelines

Food & Agriculture: Permitted 

Offices: Closed to all non-critical workers

Education & Child Care: Remote learning in K-12 and higher education, child care for critical workers and anyone resuming work activities

Outdoor work: Permitted with additional safety measures and guidelines

Individuals

Social Distancing: In place, maintain a six-foot distance from other when outdoors / in public

Face coverings: Required in enclosed public spaces

Gatherings: Not permitted, except for with members of your own household

Outdoor Recreation: Walking, hiking, biking, golfing, boating permitted 

Quarantine/Isolation: Individuals who have confirmed or suspected COVID-19 must isolate, and any individual with a known exposure must quarantine, according to CDC and public health guidance

At-risk populations: All at-risk individuals should continue to shelter in place. Members of households with at-risk residents should be aware that by returning to work or other environments where distancing is not possible, they could carry the virus back home. Precautions should be taken to isolate from at-risk residents. Businesses should strongly consider special accommodations for personnel who are members of an at-risk population

PHASE FOUR: IMPROVING

This phase occurs when the number of new cases and deaths has fallen for a period of time, but overall case levels are still high. When in the Improving phase, most new outbreaks are quickly identified, traced, and contained due to robust testing infrastructure and rapid contact tracing. Health system capacity can typically handle these new outbreaks, and therefore the case fatality rate does not rise above typical levels. Though a community might be in a declining phase, the overall number of infected individuals still indicates the need for distancing to stop transmission and move to the next phase.

Businesses and organizations

Retail: Permitted with additional safety measures and guidelines (e.g., limited capacity) 

Public Transportation: Permitted 

Restaurants & Bars: Available for take-out, delivery and drive-through only

Manufacturing: Permitted with additional safety measures and guidelines

Construction: Permitted with additional safety measures and guidelines

Food & Agriculture: Permitted

Offices: Open (remote work still required where feasible)

Education: Remote learning in K-12 and higher education, summer programs in small groups

Outdoor work: Permitted with additional safety measures and guidelines

Individuals

Social Distancing: In place, maintain a six-foot distance from other when outdoors / in public 

Face coverings: Required, likely in enclosed public spaces 

Gatherings: Limited to small groups with social distancing

Outdoor Recreation: Walking, hiking, biking, golfing, boating permitted. Activities permitted in small groups with social distancing 

Quarantine/Isolation: Individuals who have confirmed or suspected COVID-19 must isolate, and any individual with a known exposure must quarantine, according to CDC and public health guidance

At-risk populations: All at-risk individuals should continue to shelter in place. Members of households with at-risk residents should be aware that by returning to work or other environments where distancing is not possible, they could carry the virus back home. Precautions should be taken to isolate from at-risk residents. Businesses should strongly consider special accommodations for personnel who are members of an at-risk population

PHASE FIVE: CONTAINING

During the containing phase, new cases and deaths continue to decrease for an additional period of time. At this point, the number of active cases has reached a point where infection from other members of the community is less common. With widespread testing, positivity rates often fall much lower than earlier phases. Rapid case investigation, contact tracing, and containment strategies cause new cases to continue to fall. However, if distancing and other risk mitigation efforts are not continued, infections could begin to grow again because a permanent solution to the epidemic has not yet been identified.

Businesses and organizations

Retail: Permitted with additional safety measures and guidelines (e.g., limited capacity) 

Public Transportation: Permitted 

Restaurants & Bars: Available for dine-in with additional safety measures and guidelines 

Manufacturing: Permitted with additional safety measures and guidelines 

Construction: Permitted with additional safety measures and guidelines 

Food & Agriculture: Permitted 

Offices: Open with additional safety measures and guidelines 

Education: Live instruction in K-12 and higher education • Outdoor work: Permitted with additional safety measures and guidelines

Individuals

Social Distancing: In place, maintain a six-foot distance from other when outdoors / in public

Face coverings: Required wherever possible 

Gatherings: Increased but still limited-sized groups with social distancing 

Outdoor Recreation: All outdoor recreation allowed 

Quarantine/Isolation: Individuals who have confirmed or suspected COVID-19 must isolate, and any individual with a known exposure must quarantine, according to CDC and public health guidance 

At-risk populations: All at-risk individuals should continue to shelter in place. Members of households with at-risk residents should be aware that by returning to work or other environments where distancing is not possible, they could carry the virus back home. Precautions should be taken to isolate from at-risk residents. Businesses should strongly consider special accommodations for personnel who are members of an at-risk population

PHASE SIX: POST-PANDEMIC

Reaching this phase would mean community spread is not expected to return due to sufficient community immunity and availability of treatment. Because of this, the number of infected individuals falls to nearly zero and the community does not typically experience this strain of the epidemic returning. All areas of the economy reopen, and gatherings of all sizes resume.

Businesses and organizations 

All businesses and organizations open with some lasting safety requirements 

Individuals

Minimal to no lasting limitations on personal and/or social activities

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Comments

Sue
Thu, 05/07/2020 - 7:51pm

What phase are hair salons in?

Mike
Fri, 05/08/2020 - 8:35am

Just a guess, but since it's a close-contact activity, I'd say phase 5. I'd be surprised if they're allowed to reopen before August.

Michelle
Sat, 05/09/2020 - 8:09pm

Phase 3 though 5 look almost the same, to me. Looks like she is trying to spread this out as long as she possibly can! Michigan numbers have been going down since the end of April, yet, she extended until May 28, last week, before she even saw the numbers through the 15th! She's missing a whole week's worth of data! She's not going by numbers, she's going by power trip! I doubt she will "allow" phase 5 before October. And, she keeps sticking that little note in there that if the children don't behave that she will tighten the restrictions again. The fact that she mentioned it means that she will, with the slightest incline in numbers. There will be an increase of illness because the lock down has lowered everyone's immune system! No, I wouldn't count on salons opening in August. She's going to play games and drag this into November...

Revere
Fri, 05/08/2020 - 8:47am

They should all be open. If they need protection from the lansing AG freaks then they should call the Michigan Militia, or find some good local boys who will stand guard and arrest any stasi who attempt to attack Lady Liberty. Sheriff shouldn't be a problem, they are all smarter than Whitmer and aren't enforcing these stasi orders. They know that any citations issued won't stand up in court.

Lia
Fri, 05/08/2020 - 9:10am

Good question. If they fall under Retail, that would be Phase 4, after May 28, I'm assuming.

Mitch
Fri, 05/08/2020 - 5:57pm

They're not licensed as retail. Hair salons, nail salons, tattoo shops have a bevy of health codes they have to follow and permits they have to secure to operate. Retail doesn't require any of that. Since they're all businesses which require prolonged close contact with the public, they have an elevated risk of transmitting disease. They will be likely be among the last to reopen.

Anonymous
Fri, 05/08/2020 - 10:32am

No one knows. That's the beauty of this system- the only one who knows what is going on is Whitmer. And nothing spells fear and panic like the confusion and uncertainly that comes from a dictator. Fear and panic mean more political power and taxpayer funds for friends- and that's the whole point of this exercise now.

Dianne
Mon, 05/18/2020 - 12:36pm

You mean fear and dictatorship like Trump? Whitmer is merely trying to save your life. You can't go to a restaurant without shoes and pants so what's the big deal about wearing a mask if it saves lives? This attitude that Gov Whitmer is a dictator just doesn't cut it. She had a lot of deaths to contend with. Sheltering and social distancing have brought that number down. So what's the problem really? We aren't little children. We are grown adults who need to care about society in general, not just "me, me, me" demands.

Chris
Thu, 05/07/2020 - 9:11pm

She is still Heir Whitmer!! Sooo POLITICAL!?

Marc
Fri, 05/08/2020 - 8:40am

The governor needs to give businesses a little more guidance -- hope? -- on when they might reopen. This 6-part plan just gets unveiled and it's obvious some places like restaurants and bars are a long way from allowing anyone inside, let alone at a level that makes economic sense.

Meanwhile, I'm assuming my next professional haircut will be in September.

Marc
Fri, 05/08/2020 - 8:40am

The governor needs to give businesses a little more guidance -- hope? -- on when they might reopen. This 6-part plan just gets unveiled and it's obvious some places like restaurants and bars are a long way from allowing anyone inside, let alone at a level that makes economic sense.

Meanwhile, I'm assuming my next professional haircut will be in September.

Marc
Fri, 05/08/2020 - 8:40am

The governor needs to give businesses a little more guidance -- hope? -- on when they might reopen. This 6-part plan just gets unveiled and it's obvious some places like restaurants and bars are a long way from allowing anyone inside, let alone at a level that makes economic sense.

Meanwhile, I'm assuming my next professional haircut will be in September.

Marc
Fri, 05/08/2020 - 8:40am

The governor needs to give businesses a little more guidance -- hope? -- on when they might reopen. This 6-part plan just gets unveiled and it's obvious some places like restaurants and bars are a long way from allowing anyone inside, let alone at a level that makes economic sense.

Meanwhile, I'm assuming my next professional haircut will be in September.

Revere
Fri, 05/08/2020 - 9:53am

I've got an appointment to get my hair cut this weekend. Everything is opening back up. There is great strength in numbers. Ignore this tyrant.
Let no one forget what this "governor" has done and let's make sure that these actions follow her and her team of stasi symphatizers for the rest of their lives.

Larry
Fri, 05/08/2020 - 12:01pm

According to the excellent charts you have been providing, it appears that we are clearly in phase four. I don't understand the "stay at home order" being extended to May 28th.

LH
Fri, 05/08/2020 - 1:09pm

I agree, Larry, I was wondering the same thing. Looks like we better stock up on masks, since we're gonna be wearing them for a while! I wonder if there will be any restaurants left to eat at by the time they are allowed to open.

middle of the mit
Fri, 05/08/2020 - 8:59pm

The only people making opening up last longer are those who refuse to wear masks.

I hear complaints from conservatives that want the Governor to crack down on PRIVATELY OWNED NURSING HOMES because they are inundated with COVID-19.

These same people tell us that we should allow the economy to open up and those people who are susceptible should self-quarantine.

The question I have for them is this:

Who do you think is more self-quarantined than people in nursing homes?

How do they contract it when they don't leave the nursing home?

These are questions inquiring minds want and need to know from YOU!

I am done asking the "experts".

I want the answer from THE EXPERTS!!

Anonymous
Sat, 05/09/2020 - 4:30pm

Since no one can go visit the patients in nursing homes, and the employees are screened before their shifts, wear masks, and have had testing available to them since the beginning....how did it get in the nursing homes? If they are essentially cut off from society and have been self-quarantined, why are they sick? Quarantined/not quarantined-seems that the virus finds a way no matter what. At this point the only way to avoid any death is to hide in our homes until a vaccine or treatment is found. Does that sound reasonable to YOU??

LH
Sat, 05/09/2020 - 7:40pm

Even hiding in your home doesn't guarantee safety. A tree could fall on your house (and getting a chainsaw out to cut down the tree is even more dangerous); lightning could strike your house; a random drunk could drive their car through your wall; and if you smoke and fall asleep, well, we all know what happens then! And we'll all be smoking and drinking because we'll be going stir crazy locked in our homes. But we'll be "safe"!

Revere
Sun, 05/10/2020 - 7:18pm

Mit,
That's the problem. None of these people who the media call "experts" are actually experts. They are narrow-focused, narrow-minded individuals totally isolated from reality, and it's clear that none of them are thinking about the constitution and its amendments when they spout their numerous contradicting opinions.
It's a free country and we will live as such; If you wish to live in fear and avoid a "pandemic", then put yourself in a plastic bubble in your house and never leave.

T
Sat, 05/09/2020 - 1:05am

This insecure Nazi tyrant needs to be stopped. We are going to end up with no country, zero state and nothing, I mean, nothing to leave the Children. Wake up Michigan. Go back to work. Deal with the law suits later. This crazy democratic liberal party is out to destroy America. Wait until she finds the right folks to get the virus trackers after you. If you are a parent. HHS will have permission to remove your kids. Look it up. She is nuts.

Marlene Lott
Sat, 05/09/2020 - 6:36am

The nearest "testing" site is 1 1/2 hours AWAY! We have had less than a dozen cases for WEEKS, AS OUR SURROUNDING COUNTIES. She has sacrificed more than 1/2 the State to placate her base. Her decisions have nothing to do with Science or Data, otherwise we would be open. She SINGLEHANDEDLY DESTROYED OUR BUSINESS because people 3 and 4 hours away are having higher serious condition rate than ANYBODY ELSE. Hypertension, Diabetes and Obesity are the chronic illnesses, you don't need a separate study to know why they die when others without those illnesses don't.

Kathi Geukes
Sun, 05/10/2020 - 9:06am

All of you people who are on here bitching about when the Gov. will open up the state are the biggest cry babies I've ever seen. She's doing this the way that the CDC has advised her to. Despite what you say about her, she's doing what she can to keep the people of our state safe and I can assure you that...seeing as how none of you gives 2 chits about that....she will keep to it regardless of what you have to say. You probably all vote Rethug anyway which is another bite in your behind. I laugh at you because you will go out and get this crap...bring it home to your loved ones...and then whine about "Maybe I should have listened".....after having affected your whole family!! Stay the hell home and quit your bitching!!!!

Jim Pearson
Sun, 05/10/2020 - 10:36am

I’m thinking out loud here, and thought I’d just email it to you too.

It’s simple math. The state budget is $56 billion. Because of Whitmer’s government shut down orders, the state is going to be down at least $6 billion in revenue this year- about $2.5B in lost tax revenue and $3.5 in increased unemployment benefits. These costs are not necessarily related to the virus- Whitmer did not have to shut down businesses as long or as hard as she did. But she did, and hasn’t opened up business yet so the problem is only getting worse.

The biggest thing that the state spends money on is healthcare and welfare (about 1/3 of the state’s spending)- but those budget cuts are probably going way up and won’t be cut. The cuts could come from police protection (about $3B/year) or roads (about $2B/year) or other small budget categories, but you’re not going to nickle and dime cuts to $6B. So the cuts will probably fall on the next biggest categories, which are education (1/3 of state’s spending) and pensions (1/10 of the state budget).

I expect massive job losses and pay cuts for teachers for years to come as a result of Whitmer’s shut down. Of course she'll blame others and the MEA will continue to be her biggest supporters, but the math seems simple.

Geoffrey Owen
Tue, 05/12/2020 - 1:33pm

I've read this and the Governors 15 page plan. I see 6 phases and 8 regions. So what is the time line? If someone lives in region 6, for example, what phase applies to them and when?

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

Open Michigan virtual Offices than , because
lack of Online services are Exhausted and people are still not getting answers or payments etc..UIA, SSA