Goldfinch on Bluff Road on the Old Mission Peninsula | Jane Boursaw Photo
Goldfinch on Bluff Road on the Old Mission Peninsula | Jane Boursaw Photo
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Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has issued a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order that goes into effect at midnight tonight, March 23, 2020. The order, which will be in place for at least the next three weeks, through April 13, 2020, orders Michigan residents to stay home, except for essential work or to meet essential needs. It also extends the previous school closures order through April 13, as well. The order results from issues surrounding the global pandemic COVID-19, also known as the Corona Virus.

In an address and press conference this morning, Whitmer said the order is necessary because the current trajectory of Michigan’s contagion rate of COVID-19 could result in up to 70 percent of Michigan’s population – or 7 million people – eventually being infected with the virus. Of those, up to one million could require hospitalization. Whitmer said there are only 25,000 acute care beds available in Michigan.

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“Without aggressive additional measures, more people will get sick,” she said. “More people will die.”

She said that too many Michiganders are still out and about unnecessarily, and that if Michigan residents all do their part and “simply stay home, we have a shot at helping our healthcare system meet our needs.”

The order prohibits all public and private gatherings of any size occurring among people not part of a single household. Individuals are permitted to travel to return home from outside of Michigan, leave Michigan for another residence elsewhere, or travel between residences within the state.

So, what IS allowed? When are we allowed to leave home? According to the order, Michigan residents are allowed to leave home in the following instances, but must keep at least a six-foot distance from other people:

  • Perform work allowed under the order
  • Obtain food, including from grocery stores and restaurant takeout
  • Obtain gas for their vehicles
  • Obtain medical supplies or essential household goods
  • Care for a family member or family member’s pet in another household
  • Care for minors, dependents, the elderly or people with disabilities
  • Visit healthcare or residential care facilities to the extent permitted by those facilities
  • Attend necessary court or legal proceedings
  • Volunteer for certain basic needs and social-service organizations

Businesses are allowed to designate workers necessary to conduct basic operations, such as caring for animals, maintaining inventory value, processing payroll and maintaining security. As noted above, these individuals must adopt social distancing practices and other mitigation measures to protect workers and patrons in the performance of necessary in-person work.

The order also prohibits all businesses from requiring workers to leave their homes, unless those workers are necessary to sustain or protect life or to conduct minimum basic operations, as noted above.

Workers in the following industries are exempt from the order and are allowed to go to work:

  • Health care and public health
  • Law enforcement, public safety and first responders
  • Food and agriculture
  • Energy
  • Water and wastewater
  • Transportation and logistics
  • Public works
  • Communications and information technology, including news media
  • Other community-based government operations and essential functions
  • Critical manufacturing
  • Hazardous materials
  • Financial services
  • Chemical supply chains and safety
  • Defense industrial base
  • Workers at designated suppliers and distribution centers

Childcare workers are only exempted to serve the children or dependents of critical infrastructure workers as defined in the order.

In a press conference this morning, Whitmer said there will be fines and ramifications for businesses who do not comply with the order.

To read the full text of Gov. Whitmer’s executive order, click here.

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A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

Because Old Mission Gazette is a "Reader Supported Newspaper" -- meaning it exists because of your financial support -- I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks our way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. In a time when local news is becoming a thing of the past, supporting an independent community newspaper is more important now than ever.

To keep the Gazette going, click here to make a donation. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

Bay View Insurance of Traverse City Michigan



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