Michigan Revokes Ad Restrictions On Big-Box Retailers

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Friday rescinded an order that prohibited big-box retailers from advertising non-essential items.

The revocation was part of a broader executive order that extended the state's stay-at-home directive through at least May 15, but eased other restrictions in the state, which has been hard hit by the current pandemic.

As of Friday, Michigan had more than 36,0000 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Whitmer's new order -- which took effect Friday -- allows some businesses that were previously considered non-essential, such as gardening-related companies, to re-open.

The new order also lifts a requirement that stores with more than 50,000 square feet must rope off aisles dedicated to paint, home furnishings and garden supplies.

The major ad industry groups had urged Whitmer to lift the ban on advertising, arguing that the restrictions violated the First Amendment.

The ban “damages Michigan's advertising industry by prohibiting lawful speech, while providing no benefit to public safety,” the Interactive Advertising Bureau, American Association of Advertising Agencies, American Advertising Federation, Network Advertising Initiative and Association of National Advertisers stated earlier this month.

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