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Published 4/24/2020
11:55am

Face Mask Now Required In All Stores, Michigan Stay-At-Home Order Extended

Previous Restrictions Loosened on Activities like Lawn Care, Golfing, Boating, Traveling to Second Residences

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Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed executive order 2020-59, extending her “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order through May 15. The new order will require people to wear homemade face coverings when they enter enclosed public spaces. It will also lift some restrictions on outdoor activities and allow some workers who perform previously suspended activities to go back to work.

“Data shows that most Michiganders are doing their part by staying home and staying safe. That’s good, but we must keep it up. Social distancing is our best weapon to defeat this enemy,” said Governor Whitmer. “With new COVID-19 cases leveling off, however, we are lifting some of the restrictions put in place in the previous order. I want to be crystal clear: the overarching message today is still the same. We must all do our part by staying home and staying safe as much as possible.”

“The numbers we’ve seen in the past week have shown a plateau in positive cases, but Michiganders must continue doing their part to fight this virus and protect their families,” said MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “The governor has taken a number of critical steps to protect Michigan families, and this order today will allow that work to continue. We will keep monitoring the data closely and work with our partners across state government to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

The order will require people to wear homemade, non-medical grade face coverings when they enter enclosed public spaces. It will also require employers to provide at least cloth face coverings to their employees. People won’t have to wear face coverings when they’re taking a walk in the neighborhood, but when they go to the grocery store, they should be wearing one. Under the order, however, no one will be subject to criminal penalty for going without a mask.  

The new executive order will also allow some workers who perform very previously suspended activities to go back on the job. Landscapers, lawn-service companies, and nurseries can return to work, subject to strict social distancing. Retailers to that do not sell necessary supplies may reopen for curbside pick-up and for delivery. Big box stores can reopen “closed areas,” like garden centers. And bike repair and maintenance can come back online.  

At the same time, the order will ease up on some restrictions on members of the public. It will, for example, allow motorized boating and golf (but no golf carts), consistent with sound social distancing. It will also permit individuals to travel between their residences, though such travel during the epidemic is strongly discouraged. And it will clarify that state parks remain open, as they have been throughout the emergency.

The governor’s actions today are in close alignment with other Midwest states. On April 16, Governor Whitmer announced that she and Governors Mike DeWine (OH), Tony Evers (WI), Tim Walz (MN), JB Pritzker (IL), Eric Holcomb (IN), and Andy Beshear (KY) will work in close coordination to reopen the economy in the Midwest region. The governor is committed to continuing to work closely with other governors to protect families and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. 

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Update 4/19/2020

Eastern Michigan University students and professors are working to support the frontline by making masks and other personal protective equipment.  An EMU alumni group called GameAbove is providing the resources.

A Muskegon school's virtual class was disrupted by a Zoom bomber.  Inappropriate images were shared by an unknown person in the Holton High School online class.

Some Northern Michigan sheriffs say they will not "strictly" enforce Governor Gretchen Whitmer's stay-at-home order because, as one sheriff told Fox News, "it's a bridge too far."

A survey by the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators reveals that at least 300,000 of the state's students do not have internet or a computer.

No prisoners will be given early release due to COVID-19, Governor Whitmer announced in an afternoon press conference on Friday.  The ACLU of Michigan has urged the release of elderly and immunocompromised inmates.

The Eaton Rapids and Swartz Creek locations of Rite Aid are now self-swab COVID-19 testing facilities.  Rite Aid also added a Detroit area testing facility, in Macomb.  The testing locations open Monday April 20th.

13 residents of a Clio nursing home have died due to COVID-19.  23 residents and 23 employees of Maple Woods Manor have tested positive.

Northern Michigan food pantries are getting a protein boost thanks to the sale of gift cards at some area businesses.  20% of gift card sales at Red Ginger or Buritt's Fresh Market in Traverse City will buy chicken and ground beef for the nonprofits.