In light of the continued spread of COVID-19, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order (EO 2020-21), effectively calling for a lockdown of all Michigan businesses and operations to suspend in-person services for at least the next three weeks. Effective midnight, going into March 24th, Michiganders will find themselves in a similar lockdown situation to the residents of states such as Ohio, California and New York, in that most nonessential travel outside of one’s home will be strongly discouraged.
“In just 13 days, we’ve gone from 0 to over 1,000 COVID-19 cases,” shared Governor Whitmer in her address. “This is an unprecedented crisis that requires all of us working together to protect our families and our communities. The most effective way we can slow down the virus is to stay home. I know this will be hard, but it will be temporary. If we all come together, get serious, and do our part by staying home, we can stay safe and save lives.”
Today, I am issuing a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order. It goes into effect tonight at midnight.
The goal here is simple: Stay home. Stay safe. Save lives. If we all stay at home, except for critical work and needs, we can mitigate the spread of COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/JxH3HYCdsE
— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) March 23, 2020
Speaking shortly after Whitmer issued her order, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan built off of the governor’s words and encouraged Detroiters to follow the lockdown by staying home.
“We need to let this virus die out,” shared Duggan during a press release to discuss the ongoing crisis. “We need you to stay at home.”
Detroit, which has 414 of the states COVID-19 cases, will be taking measures to curb the spread of the disease. Starting Wednesday, Duggan shared that the city will be scaling back DDOT bus services in the coming days and that they will be adding food distribution sites throughout the city.
The lockdown order comes with some exceptions, but most Michigan businesses will remain closed if they are not deemed necessary to “sustain or protect life or to conduct minimum basic operations.” The types of businesses that will remain open include, grocery stores, some restaurants that offer carry out and are not densely staffed, media companies, and some essential governmental offices, as well as hospitals and other areas crucial to the healthcare industries operation.
Additional to the business closure, under the lockdown mandated by executive order (EO 2020-21), all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring between a group of people outside a single home are temporarily prohibited, meaning that there are to be no gatherings whatsoever, no matter the size of the group. It’s important that every Michigander follow these guidelines so that the state of may prevent health care systems from being overwhelmed, and so we may curb the spread of COVID-19 long enough to allow for the production of crucial testing kits.
WHAT YOU CAN STILL DO DURING THE LOCKDOWN
So, we’re on lockdown, but that doesn’t mean you are forced into staying inside indefinitely. Although, you should remain at home inside as long as you can.
Under executive order (EO 2020-21), you may leave home to grab essential items from grocery stores, care for those in need, and to make your regular commute should your workplace be deemed critical and essential. People may leave their homes if it pertains to “their health and safety, or to the health and safety of their family or household members (including pets).” Although delivery is strongly encouraged, individuals may leave to purchase groceries, take-out food, gasoline, essential medical supplies, and any other products needed to maintain the “safety, sanitation, and basic operation of their homes.”
The order also allows people to leave their homes to exercise, so long as they comply with social distancing. Meaning, if you want to walk, run, bike, or walk the dog, you are more than inclined to do so, as long as the outdoor activity does not involve close contact with other individuals. as for the status of parks, it is recommended that those partaking in outdoor exercise remain close to their place of residence, and there is no word from the Michigan DNR on if state parks will remain open.
For those with questions, concerns, or if you believe you may be feeling symptomatic, you may call the COVID-19 Hotline at 1-888-535-6136 between 8 AM – 5 PM daily. A full outline of the governer’s order can be read here, and in the meantime, stay home, wash your hands and please practice social distancing.
Further updates will be provided as the COVID-19 situation further unfolds.