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Whitmer orders will allow gyms and pools to re-open and high school sports to resume

Rodrigo Sarsfield

Gyms and pools in Michigan can re-open next week, but with new rules to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. That’s under two executive orders signed Thursday by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

She is also allowing organized sports practices and competitions to resume in regions where they’ve been banned.

“Today we are announcing the re-opening of pools with strict safety measures in place to protect patrons and their families,” Whitmer said in a statement released by her office. “I urge everyone who plans to hit the gym after these orders go into effect to take these precautions seriously, and do everything in their power to protect themselves and their families.”

Gyms and pools will have to operate at reduced capacity. Gym customers will have to mask up while exercising. 

The new orders will permit contact sports such as football – even though the state Department of Health and Human Services recommends against contact sports.

Bowling alleys and ice rinks can be re-opened, but only for organized playing and practices.

“Individuals can now choose whether or not to play organized sports, and if they do choose to play, this order requires strict safety measures to reduce risk,” Michigan Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said. “However, we know of 30 reported outbreaks involving athletic teams and facilities in August.”

The orders also include a very detailed list of requirements and suggestions for businesses to safely re-open. That includes limits on the number of guests allowed to be on hand to watch competitions.

For the moment, though, there are still no trips allowed to movie theaters.

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Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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