Gov. Whitmer lifts ban on overnight camps, school-related sports

LANSING — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Friday that overnight camps and school-related sports activities can resume on Monday — the latest coronavirus restrictions to be lifted as the state economy reopens.

The governor’s order says the residential camps can open subject to guidance from the state’s licensing department. Summer day camps were able to start opening earlier last week.

All camps are strongly recommended to keep campers in groups of 10 or fewer. The guidelines encourage physical distancing but also acknowledge it is “very challenging” in camp settings.

Camps should do temperature checks and establish policies for when masks must be worn. The memo recommends that staff wear face coverings but notes that many children will not reliably wear them and that requiring masks may result in increased touching of the face, defeating the purpose. Overnight camps must keep beds at least 6 feet apart.

Whitmer also relaxed the closure of schools to allow outdoor K-12 sports and other in-person extracurricular activities to restart, though participants must remain at least 6 feet apart at all times and indoor gyms and recreation centers remain closed.

“As we’ve worked together to bend the curve and protect our families from COVID-19, our kids have lost time in the classroom and missed out on play dates, birthday parties and graduations,” Whitmer said. “That’s why I’m glad they’ll have an opportunity to spend a week or weekend away at camp.”

Monday also is when hair salons and other personal care businesses can reopen.

The Democratic governor has faced criticism from Republican lawmakers over the length of her stay-at-home and other restrictions in a state with the sixth-most number of reported COVID-19 deaths. This week, she touted a British study showing few states dropped their infection rate as low for as long as Michigan did.

The state on Friday reported eight additional deaths, bringing the total to 5,985. The seven-day average of deaths was 18, which is well below the peak of 145 in mid-April. Coronavirus hospitalizations also are down.

Also Friday, one of the largest Arab American advocacy organizations in the U.S. offered drive-up COVID-19 testing and more during a community event outside its headquarters in Dearborn. The group, called ACCESS, provided nasal swab and antibody testing, handed out food, registered attendees to vote and encouraged them to participate in the census.

In addition, in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, ACCESS handed out T-shirts from its “Take on Hate” campaign to those who gave monetary donations.

Cars wrapped around the building to get to the parking lot, where a team of volunteers awaited. Hundreds were expected to take part.

Ahmad Bazzi underwent both tests and his donation earned him a “Take on Hate” T-shirt, as well.

“Yeah, I just wanted to get tested, make sure I’m OK. And if I was sick and I didn’t know, if I do have the antibodies, so that way I could come back and donate some blood,” said Bazzi, a 30-year-old Ford Motor Co. employee from Dearborn Heights.

Facebook Comments