Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an order lifting restrictions in the Upper Peninsula and the Traverse City area starting Friday at 12:01 a.m.
The new order allows for the reopening of retail businesses, office work that cannot be done remotely, and restaurants and bars with limited seating.
The order also states that businesses must adopt the safety measures outlined in executive order the governor signed earlier on Monday requiring them to provide training to their employees. Capacity at restaurants and bars will be limited to 50% of their normal seating and they are required to keep groups at least six feet from one another. All servers must wear face coverings, and restaurants must follow rigorous disinfection protocols.
"The data shows that it's safer than indoor seating to be outside," Whitmer said in a press conference on today. "We should take full advantage of the springtime weather, and that's what we're hoping to do here."
She went on to say that these regions are showing lower new cases than the statewide average. But Whitmer cautioned that residents in these areas should still continue to take precautions when going out, including wearing masks, staying six feet apart and washing hands.