By Ronn Blitzer | Fox News
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Monday that she is lifting her state’s stay-at-home order effective next week, easing restrictions placed on businesses and public gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Under the new guidelines, stores will be able to have customers without appointments and restaurants will be able to have customers dine in, but social distancing requirements remain in place requiring limited capacity. The state has noted that coronavirus cases and deaths have dropped more sharply and treatment capacities at hospitals and other health-care facilities have improved, among other criteria.
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“While Michiganders are no longer required to stay home, we must all continue to be smart and practice social distancing, and encourage those who meet the criteria to get tested for COVID-19,” Whitmer said in a statement, as The Associated Press reported.
Whitmer moved 93 percent of the state into “phase four” of the reopening plan, with hopes to move to “phase five” by July 4. In addition to stores and restaurants being able to open up to customers, day camps and pools will be open as well.
Outdoor public gatherings, which had been limited to a maximum of 10 people, will now be allowed to have up to 100, as long as social distancing is practiced.
Indoor theaters, hair salons, and gyms will remain closed, although gyms will be permitted to hold outdoor classes.
Whitmer’s stay-at-home order was among the strictest in the nation. Many residents said Whitmer overstepped her authority by banning most travel between homes and by temporarily prohibiting sales of items such as garden supplies and activities such as some forms of fishing.
Michigan residents protested the order, with some even storming the state capitol while armed. Businesses sued over the order, but a judge allowed it to continue, refusing to grant a preliminary injunction that would have blocked it for the duration of the case.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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