Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance members ready to reopen safely
NORTHERN MI – Today, the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance joined Governor Whitmer in announcing the first phase of reopening by retail businesses, restaurants, and bars in the northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula, specified as Michigan Economic Recovery Council reporting regions 6 and 8. The Governor signed Executive Order 2020-92, allowing the May 22 reopening of businesses. This news comes after weeks of advocacy from the Alliance and its member organizations. The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance represents 16 chambers and economic development organizations from all across northern Michigan.
Alliance chamber and economic development organizations have all been highly involved at the local level in response to the economic and health crises in their respective communities – and have joined forces to collectively advocate for northern Michigan at the state and federal levels. Rural northern Michigan communities are committed to partnering with public health and implementing clear guidelines for safe operating practices, including expanded health screening and testing, use of PPE, and employing modified social-distancing practices and comprehensive cleaning procedures to avoid future spikes.
Joining the Governor on stage at her press conference to announce the Friday reopening, Stacie Bytwork, the chairperson of the Alliance and president of the Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce, stated, “The Governor’s regional plan recognizes there is no one-size-fits-all approach and northern Michigan is ready to lead by example and open safely.” She went on to say, “Our businesses will take these protocols seriously. Their livelihood is on the line.”
This announcement comes after the Alliance, advocating at the state and federal levels since the onset of the pandemic, sent formal communications to the Governor’s office. The Alliance offered several northern Michigan business leaders for inclusion in reopening discussions – and then followed up with a formal request last week that northern Michigan showcase how reopening can safely begin with regions 6 and 8.
The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance continues to support chambers, economic development organizations, and their over 7,000 member businesses by providing timely information and advocating for rural business needs at the state and federal levels. The Alliance is engaged in delivering industry-specific information, access to funding opportunities, and working to ensure the northern Michigan voice is represented in reopening discussions.
About the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance:
The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance is a coalition of chambers and economic development organizations in Alpena, Benzie, Boyne City, Cadillac, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, East Jordan, Elk Rapids, Gaylord, Harbor Springs, Leelanau County, Manistee, Marquette, Petoskey, Sault Area, and Traverse City. The Alliance exists to advocate for rural northern Michigan and move forward rural-centric business policy.