LANSING, Mich. — Friday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order to reopen movie theaters and performance venues in Michigan.
“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. 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,” said Whitmer in a statement.
Starting Oct. 9, these businesses are allowed to reopen: indoor theaters, cinemas, performance venues, arcades, bingo halls, bowling centers, indoor climbing facilities, trampoline parks and more.
Under the order, indoor gatherings must be limited to 20 people per 1,000 square feet, or 20% of the seating capacity. This puts it at a maximum of 500 people in Michigan's largest venues. In Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, movie theaters can operate with 25 people per 1,000 square feet or 25% of the seating capacity.
Face coverings will still be required.
Movie theaters have been closed since the start of the pandemic in March.
“We applaud the governor’s strong leadership during this time and appreciate the guidance she has provided,” said JD Loeks, President of Studio C, Parent Company of Celebration Cinema in a statement Friday. “Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our employees, patrons, and their families. We are eager to reopen our doors with strict safety measures in place and look forward to working closely with the governor and her team as we continue to fight this virus.”
Under the order, the cap on outdoor gatherings has also been raised as long as there is fixed seating. Outdoor venues were limited to 100 people, but now they can have 30 people per 1,000 square feet or 30% of the seating capacity. This means outdoor funeral services can now accommodate more people.
“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. “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."
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