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Duggan: Detroit will enforce health and safety rules as retail re-opens

Mike Duggan
City of Detroit

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said he’s excited that some Michigan retail businesses will be able to re-open on Tuesday, but warns the city will be vigilant about enforcing health and safety standards meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer laid out those rules in an executive order that allows businesses “engaged in the selling of goods and the rendering of services incidental to the sale of the goods” to re-open. Sit-down restaurants, bars, gyms and fitness centers, and salons remain closed for now.

For those businesses that do re-open, shopping will be by appointment only. Store owners must post signs telling customers to wear masks. There are occupancy limits and physical distancing requirements, and personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves will be required for employees.

Duggan said the city will dispatch its 57 neighborhood police officers to assist store owners with compliance.

“They’re coming out to serve you and help you. They’re not coming to catch you and shut you down,” Duggan said. “That’s not what we’re trying to do. The neighborhood police officers are going to try to make sure your business is open and running smoothly.”

Duggan said store owners can also turn to the neighborhood officers to deal with customers who don’t follow the rules. “If somebody does come into your store, that doesn’t want to wear the mask, that doesn’t want to respect the distancing, we don’t want you to feel like you need to confront difficult customers,” he said.

Duggan said the goal is to re-open retail smoothly, while keeping COVID-19 infection rates on their current downward trend. He said he’s hopeful that can be done successfully, and the state will move within the next few weeks to allow more businesses, including restaurants and salons, to re-open.

“There’s a very real chance of getting these businesses and these jobs open again,” Duggan said. “All of this is possible because of what the people of this city have done.”

Detroit has been hit hard by COVID-19. As of Friday, the city reported a total of 10,615 cases, and 1,301 deaths.

But Duggan noted daily cases and deaths have sharply declined in recent weeks. In early-to mid-April, well over 200 Detroiters per week were dying from COVID-19; in the past seven days, that number was 20.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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