Gov. Whitmer announces reopening of retail, auto show rooms, vet and dental services by appointment only

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LANSING, MI (WILX) -- The governor announced the reopening of different sectors of the economy during her press conference Thursday morning via Executive Order 2020-96.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced non-essential dental services, veterinarian services, retail and auto-show room services may reopen, but by appointment only.

The governor said retail businesses and auto dealerships may reopen Tuesday, May 26 while lifted requirements that health care providers must delay certain non-essential medical, dental and veterinary procedures statewide goes into effect Friday, May 29.

The governor said gatherings of 10 or fewer people may also resume, effective immediately, as long as people continue to practice social distancing.

“The data shows that Michigan is ready to phase in these sectors of our economy, but we must stay vigilant and ensure we’re doing everything we can to protect ourselves and our families from the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Whitmer. “On behalf of our brave first responders on the front lines of this crisis, we must continue to all do our part by staying safer at home. We owe it to them to do what we can to stop the spread of this virus.”

“As businesses continue to reopen, it’s crucial that they adopt strict safety measures to protect their employees, customers, and their families,” said MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “I know that as medical professionals begin offering nonessential procedures again, they will do everything in their power to protect patients and their families from COVID-19. I will continue to work with Governor Whitmer and our partners across Michigan to protect our families and lower the chance of a second wave.”

Governor Whitmer also signed Executive Order 2020-97, which updates a prior rule on workplace safety, according to the governor's office.

"Per the amended order, reopened outpatient health-care facilities, including clinics, primary care physician offices, and dental offices will have to adopt strict protocols to prevent infection," the governor's office said in a press release.

The order requires businesses to maintain in-person activities "must adopt social distancing practices and other mitigation measures to protect workers. They must, among other things, provide COVID-19 training to workers that covers, at a minimum, workplace infection-control practices, the proper use of PPE, steps workers must take to notify the business or operation of any symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 and how to report unsafe working conditions," the governor's office said.

Gov. Whitmer said an extension of the stay-home order could be possible, however, she did not say for how long or when it would be announced. She said she would give more information on the status of the stay-home order in the coming days.

The governor also provided an update on the flooding in Midland County.

"This is truly a crisis in the middle of a crisis in the middle of a crisis," Governor Gretchen Whitmer said.

In the wake of the disaster, Governor Whitmer was asked if she feels Michigan needs to revisit how much it is allocating for infrastructure.

"We know that we've got hundreds of dams, we've got thousands of bridges, by the way a few bridges were wiped out when the dam failed, we've got roads that are filled with potholes, and this is what I've been trying to fix. I would love to have some cooperation and partnership from the legislature, and the federal government frankly, to reinvest in infrastructure," Governor Gretchen Whitmer said.

She also thanked first-responders for working around the clock to help those in Midland County during the flooding.

She said she sent President Donald Trump an emergency declaration letter in regards to the flooding in Midland County, hoping he will sign it Thursday during his visit to Michigan.

She confirmed President Trump said the federal government will do whatever it could to help Midland during this time. She also said the state is pursuing an investigation into the Edenville dam to get all of the facts on its failure.

You can watch the governor's press conference here:

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