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Whitmer: Restaurants, bars in U.P. can reopen Friday

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Monday that retail businesses in much of northern Michigan, including restaurants and bars, can reopen starting Friday.

The bars and restaurants will have to limit their capacity to 50%. Groups will be required to stay 6 feet apart and servers will have to wear face coverings.

Office work also will be able resume if work cannot be done remotely.

The move will affect two of the eight regions identified in the governor’s gradual reopening plan amid the coronavirus pandemic: one covers the Upper Peninsula and another includes 17 counties in the northern Lower Peninsula, including Traverse City. The area is a tourist destination and home to downstate residents’ second homes and cottages.

“This is a big step, but we must all remember to continue doing our part to protect ourselves and our families from the spread of COVID19,” Whitmer said in a statement.

“The data shows that these regions in Michigan are seeing consistent encouraging trends when it comes to the number of cases, deaths, and the percent of tests that are positive for COVID-19,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief deputy for health and chief medical executive.

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