The reopening of two regions of the state for retail and restaurant business this Friday will be a major boost to Northern Michigan.
Tuesday afternoon, Governor Gretchen Whitmer spoke 1-on-1 with 9&10 News about what we can expect here.
“The rest of the state is watching and that’s why we want you to be successful and show how it can be done safely,” says Gov. Whitmer.
After an unusual spring, the unofficial start to summer will begin to look more familiar.
Or at least 50% more familiar.
“We also caution. We don’t want people to just descend on Traverse City and get packed into places and potentially spread COVID-19,” says Whitmer.
The Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan may determine how the rest of the state re-opens. As rules loosen, the state will keep a close eye on COVID-19 case numbers, deaths and protective supplies in the regions.
“All of these things are really important data points that we are looking at to determine how we turn that knob a little bit more,” says Whitmer, “Or do we have to have to turn it down.”
“We have to remember that the mountain that we climbed here, in terms of infection, is higher than many other states,” says Rick Neitzel, “It’s going to take a little longer to get back.”
Neitzel is part of the team at University of Michigan School of Public Health that is helping guide Whitmer. He says success may be more driven by the businesses now than the patrons.
“Where the effort is shifting to now or needs to shift to, is employers doing the best job they can and making sure their workplace and businesses are as safe as possible,” says Neitzel.
What counts and what doesn’t will continue to be figured out. The broad guidelines are clear and can be expanded to things like live music this summer.
“Whether or not music is an offering that the numbers of people in a facility that have to be taken into account to keep the whole number under 50% of capacity,” says Whitmer, “It’s on this establishment to make sure they are able to enforce social distancing that is expected.”