Lansing, MI—Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a series of executive orders Friday to allow movie theaters, bowling alleys and event venues to reopen, to increase the size of gatherings of allowed and to require the use of face masks in schools by young students.

Theaters, event venues and bowling alleys are allowed to reopen Oct. 9 under Whitmer’s order.

The businesses are required to keep a record of the names and contact information of each customer. If a guest declines to provide that information, they must be denied entry.

The order says the businesses must “mandate wearing of facial covering at all times while in the facility” and does not appear to include an exemption for consuming concessions.

Self-serve food or drink options must remain closed under the order.

Occupancy at the venues must be limited “to the extent necessary to enable patrons not of the same household to maintain six feet of distance from others,” by staggering group seating, closing off every other row, or other methods.

Facilities will be required to implement safe exit procedures for patrons, such as dismissing groups by row.

Whitmer said the state is able to reopen the businesses because they took aggressive actions early on to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“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. As a result, we are now able to reopen movie theaters and performance venues with strict safety measures in place,” Whitmer said. “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.”

Whitmer also amended the state’s indoor and outdoor gathering limits.

Non-residential indoor gatherings and events will be limited to 20 people per 1,000 square feet or 20% of fixed seating capacity, with a maximum of 500 people in Michigan’s largest venues. They were previously limited to 10 people.

Instead of being limited to 100 people, non-residential outdoor gatherings will now be limited to 30 people per 1,000 square feet or 30% of fixed seating capacity, with a maximum of 1,000 people.

Whitmer also announced that students in grades kindergarten and up will now be required to wear a face mask in school. Previously, wearing a mask was only a recommendation for students in fifth grade or lower.

Michigan had 120,526 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state Thursday, and 6,708 people have died from the virus.

Of the confirmed cases, 3,690 are in Genesee County, and 283 people in the county have died from the virus.

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...