Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced today that she is extending the “Stay Home Stay Safe” Executive Order through May 15 to help stop the spread of COVID-19, also known as the CoronaVirus. The Executive Order states that “although the virus remains aggressive and persistent,” the number of new confirmed cases each day in Michigan has started to drop.
The Grand Traverse County Health Department continues to report 19 positive cases and 5 deaths from COVID-19 in Grand Traverse County. To date, 505 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Grand Traverse County. State-wide, there have been 35,291 confirmed cases and 2,977 deaths.
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“We can now start the process of gradually resuming in-person work and activities that were temporarily suspended under my prior orders,” says Whitmer. “But in doing so, we must move with care, patience, and vigilance, recognizing the grave harm that this virus continues to inflict on our state and how quickly our progress in suppressing it can be undone.”
She continues to stress the importance of social distancing, remaining at least six feet apart from others in public spaces, washing your hands often, and staying home except for essential reasons such as grocery shopping.
Highlights of Today’s Executive Order
- The stay-home order is extended through May 15, 2020. This means Michiganders should stay home except for venturing out for essential services such as grocery shopping.
- Everyone is now required to wear a face mask while in an enclosed public space such as a grocery store or pharmacy, or in a public space outside. If you don’t have a mask, Gov. Whitmer recommends creating one out of a bandana, t-shirt or other cloth. Previously, wearing a mask was only a recommendation.
- Employers must provide masks for employees who are working.
- Michiganders may travel between their residences, but Whitmer strongly discourages it, as it could spread the virus to other areas of the state.
- Motorized boating and fishing is now allowed.
- Golfing is now allowed, although golfers are prohibited from driving a golf cart.
- Businesses that may now open include landscaping, lawn services, garden centers, nurseries, bicycle shops, pest control businesses and moving/storage businesses. Note that stores must establish lines and social distancing guidelines, as well as limit the number of shoppers inside the store at one time.
- Stores selling nonessential items are allowed to re-open for curbside pickup and delivery, and big-box stores no longer have to close off their garden centers and paint, carpet, flooring, and furniture sections.
- Businesses like restaurants, bars, gyms, salons, spas, theaters, and event/sports venues must remain closed, aside from takeout, delivery and curbside service. Also notably absent from the “Ok to Open” list are construction services and real estate businesses, which must remain closed.
Whitmer said it’s possible that additional business sectors could be re-opened prior to May 15, but this will be dependent on COVID-19 testing results in the coming weeks. She also notes that if cases begin to spike, the state will need to be “nimble enough to go backward on occasion.”
Note that health clinics across the region remain open and ready to safely serve any medical need, including general health and follow-up care. When immediate medical attention is needed, know that it is safe to call 911 and access emergency services at your local hospital. Pay attention to signs and symptoms of other health issues such as heart attack or stroke and seek immediate medical attention.
Read Gov. Whitmer’s full Executive Order No. 2020-59 here.
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 like the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, and magazines like 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 of course, I started my own newspaper. Because the Gazette is mainly reader-supported, I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks my 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 Old Mission Peninsula. Check out the donation page here. Thank you so much for your support. -jb