Gov. Whitmer to reopen movie theaters, performance venues

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed two Executive Orders Friday loosening some COVID-19 regulations. One order allows movie theaters and performance venues to reopen on October 9. The other strengthens the mask requirements in school.

"Michigan took some of the most aggressive action against COVID-19 in the country, and as a result, the health of our families and our economy are faring better than our neighbors in other states. As a result, we are now able to reopen movie theaters and performance venues with strict safety measures in place. I know these business owners have made incredible sacrifices during this crisis to protect our families and frontline workers, and my administration will continue working to help them get back on their feet,” said Governor Whitmer. “We are not out of the woods yet, and we will continue to monitor the effects of these incremental changes. Right now, the federal government and all 50 states have been under some form of state of emergency. We must stay the course and continue fighting this virus on behalf of our families, frontline workers, and our small businesses.”

Beginning October 9, the following businesses will be allowed to open statewide: indoor theaters, cinemas, performance venues, arcades, bingo halls, bowling centers, indoor climbing facilities, trampoline parks, and more.

The governor also increased the number of people who can attend gatherings.

Under Executive Order 2020-183, instead of being limited to 10 people, non-residential indoor gatherings and events now must limit attendance to 20 people per 1,000 square feet or 20 percent of fixed seating capacity, with a maximum of 500 people in Michigan’s largest venues. Face coverings must be required.

Instead of being limited to 100 people, non-residential outdoor gatherings and events now must limit attendance to 30 people per 1,000 square feet or 30 percent of fixed seating capacity, with a maximum of 1,000 people.

Executive Order 2020-185 requires all students in grades kindergarten and up in regions 1-5 and 7 to wear a face covering in classrooms. Prior orders had recommended, but not required, a face covering for grades kindergarten through five. 

“With the 2020-2021 flu season approaching, we are in a precarious moment in our fight against COVID-19,” said Chief Medical Executive and MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “This new mask requirement is so important to protect students and educators, and to keep our schools open. This year, it’s more important than ever that Michiganders across the state get their flu vaccine as soon as possible, mask up, and maintain at least six feet of physical distancing. Let’s all be smart and stay safe.”

“One of the many unfortunate side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is that bereaved families across Michigan have not had the opportunity attend the rituals, services, and ceremonies that allow them to pay their respects and process their grief over the loss of a loved one,” said Phil Douma, Executive Director of the Michigan Funeral Directors Association.  “Increasing the number of people able to attend a funeral is the right thing to do, and grieving families across our state can now more properly mourn their losses and honor those they love."

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