Michigan movie theaters and performance venues will soon be allowed to reopen, according to an executive order signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
The order, which also amends coronavirus safety mandates in schools, will allow a variety of previously closed entertainment venues, including indoor theaters, cinemas, performance venues, arcades, bingo halls, bowling centers, indoor climbing facilities and trampoline parks, to reopen statewide on October 9.
“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,” Whitmer said in a statement. “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.”
Capacity requirements apply based on the size of the venue. Non-residential indoor gatherings and events must limit attendance to 20 people 1,000 square feet or 20 percent of fixed seating capacity. Michigan’s largest venues are capped at 500 people and all indoor venues must require a face covering.
The order means that funeral homes will also be able to open to a wider number.
“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, in a statement. “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.”
However Whitmer also signed an order which requires face coverings for students in grades K-5. The previous order had recommended masks for the age group, but not mandated it.
The governor emphasized that the reopenings do not mean the pandemic is over.
“We are not out of the woods yet, and we will continue to monitor the effects of these incremental changes,” she said. “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.”
Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair.