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Gov. Whitmer reopens theaters and asks for stronger mask use in schools

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Posted at 4:13 PM, Sep 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-26 03:03:28-04

LANSING, Mich. — In her latest executive order, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is allowing movie theaters to reopen and asking for stronger mask requirements in schools.

On Oct. 9, a number of still-closed businesses are slated to reopen statewide: indoor theaters, cinemas, performance venues, arcades, bingo halls, bowling centers, indoor climbing facilities, trampoline parks and more, according to the governor's office Friday.

“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. "I know these business owners have made incredible sacrifices during this crisis to protect our families and front-line workers, and my administration will continue working to help them get back on their feet.”

Executive order 2020-183 opens non-residential indoor gatherings to 20% capacity starting Oct. 9. This includes movie theaters, funerals, and other social functions as long as fixed seating is provided. If fixed seating is not provided, venues are only allowed to admit 20 people per 1,000 square feet. Regions 6 and 8 may have 25% capacity with fixed seating or 25 people per 1,000 square feet. Everyone is still required to wear a mask while indoors.

Outdoor gatherings can now have 30% capacity for fixed-seating venues, or 30 people per 1,000 square feet without seating, and a maximum of 1,000 guests.

"Regions 6 and 8 are subject to the same rules covered in the revised MI Safe Start order, except non-residential indoor venues may allow up to 25 people per 1,000 square feet or 25 percent of fixed seating capacity, with a maximum of 500 people in the regions’ largest venues," the governor's office said.

Executive order 2020-185 requires children in grades K-5 to wear a mask while in school starting Oct. 5. The governor also specified requirements on the part of the school for COVID case reporting.

“School districts and non-public schools must publish information about any cases of a probable or confirmed COVID-19 positive individual present on school property or at a school function during the period of infection, in the manner prescribed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). MDHHS is authorized to issue orders and directives to implement this section,” the order says.

The new stipulations cite the higher numbers of cases in children over the last few months.