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Whitmer issues stay-at-home order, 15 dead in MI from virus

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    MICHIGAN (WNEM) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a stay-at-home order on Monday, March 23.

The order directs all Michigan businesses and operations to temporarily suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life, the governor’s office said.

The order (EO 2020-21) also directs all Michigan residents to stay in their homes unless they are a part of the “critical infrastructure workforce,” engaged in an outdoor activity, or performing tasks necessary to the health and safety of themselves or their family. Some of those tasks include going to the hospital or grocery store.

The order becomes effective at 12:01 a.m. on March 24 and will remain in effect for at least three weeks.

“Individuals may only leave their home or place of residence under very limited circumstances, and they must adhere to social distancing measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when they do so, including remaining at least six feet from people from outside the individual’s household to the extent feasible under the circumstances,” the governor’s office said.

“In just 13 days, we’ve gone from 0 to over 1,000 COVID-19 cases,” Whitmer said. “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.”

Officials also said Michigan now has 15 deaths from the virus, and more than 1,200 positive cases.

The order also prohibits all gatherings that occur among people outside of a single household.

Michigan is currently in the top five states in the nation in number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, the governor’s office said.

Unemployment benefits have been expanded to help workers impacted by COVID-19.

“We understand that COVID-19 has caused economic harm to our workers as sacrifices are made to protect all of our residents. Extending and expanding unemployment benefits has provided emergency relief to many Michiganders,” said Jeff Donofrio, director of the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. “Even though we’ve seen an unprecedented need for emergency financial assistance, Michigan’s unemployment system, and its hardworking staff, continue to provide critical help online and over the phone. Michiganders impacted by the COVID-19 epidemic should continue to visit or call 866-500-0017 to apply for benefits.”

Small Business Association of Michigan President Brian Calley issued the following statement in regards to Whitmer’s stay-at-home order:

“The COVID-19 pandemic is like nothing our state has ever seen and we appreciate Governor Whitmer’s leadership and thoughtful approach to taking action during this crisis. Although we know many of our members are facing severe hardship over this crisis, it is important that we trust that the Governor is making the best decisions she can based on the information available to her. We support this action to prevent further spreading of COVID-19 in Michigan and urge our members to robustly comply.

We appreciate that Governor Whitmer has closely reviewed actions taken in other states and worked to ensure a stay at home order runs more smoothly in our state. Ensuring the continued operation of our supply chain and critical infrastructure during this time will help meet the needs of Michiganders while keeping critical businesses in operation. This order establishes an efficient process to ensure that bureaucracy does not stop critical life-saving and life-preserving work. Further, it allows for reasonable wind down of work in process and for all businesses to designate staff to perform basic minimum operations on site.

Nothing about this situation is ideal but our focus has been on ensuring that a stay at home order is implemented in the least painful way possible for small businesses. We will continue to support small businesses and will now focus our advocacy on securing rescue packages for small business owners at both the state and federal level.

SBAM is committed to supporting small businesses during this pandemic, providing resources to help minimize the losses this crisis is causing. We will continue to provide daily briefings and share resources and information that small businesses need as it becomes available. We understand the devastating impact this pandemic is having on small businesses across our state. Though times are tough, we encourage all Michiganders to stay calm and take dealing with this pandemic one step at a time. Together, Michigan will navigate through this crisis and move forward with life.”

Mohammed Arsiwala, president of the Michigan State Medical Society, issued the following statement:

“As Michigan’s physician community, on the front lines of caring for those infected by the COVID-19 virus and working to limit the spread of the virus to others, we cannot urge strongly enough that every Michigan resident take this situation seriously and stay home to protect both themselves, their families and their neighbors.

Supplies are scarce. Testing kits are limited. COVID-19 is highly contagious and cases in Michigan and around the country are rising. Staying home helps Michigan physicians and our health care system better fight back.

We are grateful for – and support – Governor Whitmer’s executive order today asking all Michigan residents to stay at home, in an effort to flatten the curve. This is the most important thing we can all do to protect the most vulnerable in our community. It is also the most important thing we can all do to return our lives to what we remember and miss.”

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Article Topic Follows: Regional News

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