Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Monday that she is lifting Michigan’s stay-at-home order and will allow the dining rooms of restaurants and bars to reopen next week.

Outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people will be allowed beginning today as long as social distancing guidelines are followed.

Swimming pools and day camps for children can reopen under the loosened restrictions, and outdoor sports practices and games can resume as long as players and spectators are both able to maintain a six-foot distance between one another.

Non-essential retail businesses can reopen without appointments beginning June 4.

Libraries and museums will be allowed to reopen beginning June 8 with capacity limits.

The dining areas of restaurants and bars can reopen with capacity limits and other safety measures in place beginning June 8.

“While Michiganders are no longer required to stay home, we must all continue to be smart and practice social distancing, and encourage those who meet the criteria to get tested for COVID-19,” Whitmer said.

Restaurants and bars will be required to limit their capacity to 50% and keep groups of customers at least six feet apart.

Customers will be asked to wait for a table in their vehicles as waiting areas of restaurants will be closed.

Servers will be required to wear face masks, provided by the businesses, and a self-screening must be conducted daily by employees entering the workplace.

Self-serve areas like buffets and drink stations will remain closed, and shared items like menus, condiments, chairs and tables must be cleaned after each customer.

Employees will be trained on how to appropriately use personal protective equipment, food safety health protocols and how to manage symptomatic customers that enter the restaurant.

If an employee shows multiple symptoms of COVID-19, the restaurant will be required to close immediately and perform a deep clean consistent with guidance from the Center for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration.

Physical barriers, such as sneeze guards and partitions, will be installed at areas like cash registers, bars, host stands and other areas where it is difficult to maintain a distance of six feet.

Signs posted at the entrance will instruct customers not to enter if they are or have recently been sick and to wear face masks until they reach their table.

Local governments will be allowed to impose additional restrictions, like limiting restaurants to outdoor seating.

Businesses with close contact – including gyms, movie theaters, hair salons, tattoo parlors and casinos – will remain closed.

Whitmer said she hopes to further ease restrictions, including reopening those businesses, by the Fourth of July.

Whitmer previously allowed restaurants and bars in Northern Michigan to reopen their dining areas on the Friday before Memorial Day.

Small gatherings of up to 10 people with social distancing were also allowed to resume ahead of Memorial Day.

Michigan had 57,532 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state Sunday, and 5,516 people have died from the virus.

Of the confirmed cases, 2,015 are in Genesee County, and 252 people in the county have died from the virus.

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Andrew Roth

Andrew Roth is a reporter and photographer covering politics and policy in Michigan, as well technology, culture and their convergence. Andrew is a journalism student at Michigan State University and first...