Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has extended her "Stay Home, Stay Safe" executive order.
The order has been extended through April 30.
The order limits gatherings and travel, and requires all workers who are not necessary to sustain or protect life to stay home.
Executive Order 2020-42 also imposes more stringent limitations on stores to reduce foot traffic, slow the spread of the coronavirus, and save lives, Whitmer's office said in a press release on Thursday, April 9.
“Michigan has the third highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country, and we’re still on the upswing. We must continue to do everything we can to slow the spread and protect our families,” Whitmer said. “Data shows that most Michiganders are doing their part by staying home and staying safe. That’s good, but we must keep it up. When we do, we can save lives and shorten the amount of time we’re working through this crisis, which will be good for our families and good for our economy in the long-run. We can also protect critical infrastructure workers like doctors, nurses, grocery store employees, and child care workers. Now more than ever, it’s crucial that people stay home and stay safe.”
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said staying home is the most effective way to slow the spread of the virus.
“This aggressive action will help us protect more people and ease the strain on our health care system," Khaldun said.
The executive order prohibits all businesses and operations from requiring workers to leave their homes, unless those workers are necessary to sustain or protect life or to conduct minimum basic operations, the state said.
A list of critical infrastructure workers can be found here.
Residents can leave the house to get groceries and needed supplies, but they are encouraged to limit the number of household members running errands.
Residents are also allowed to engage in outdoor activities such as walking, hiking, running, cycling, kayaking, canoeing, or any other recreational activity consistent with remaining at least six feet from people outside of your household.
The order prohibits travel for vacations or any other purpose.
The order also imposes restrictions on stores in an effort to reduce crowds. Large stores must limit the number of people inside to no more than four customers for every 1,000 square-feet of customer floor space. Small stores must limit capacity at 25 percent of the total occupancy limits.
Large stores must also close areas of the store that are dedicated to carpeting, flooring, furniture, garden centers, plant nurseries, or paint.
“This doesn’t mean everything will go back to normal on May 1,” Whitmer said. “But based on the data we have right now, this is the appropriate window for an extension. It will take time to safely and responsibly re-open the economy, which is why we will continue to provide critical unemployment support and assistance to our small businesses during this challenging time. We will get through this if we all continue to do our part.”
Whitmer also announced the Suburban Collection Showcase in Novi was chosen as a second location for an alternative healthcare center. It will hold about 1,000 COVID-19 patients.
The alternative healthcare center at the TCF Center in Detroit will start taking patients on Friday.
Whitmer also sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence to increase access to critical medications for patients on ventilators. The medications are for sedation and pain relief.
The Drug Enforcement Administration has eased restrictions on production of the medications, allowing drug manufacturers to produce more.
Michigan is also the first state in the country to get SNAP benefits from the Food and Nutrition Services for students who qualify for free and reduced lunches and now aren't getting fed at school.
The benefits would give an extra $193 per month per child.
Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich issued the following statement:
“The ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ order is tough medicine, but it’s working and it’s imperative that we see this through. I’m heartened to see the clear majority of Michiganders doing the right thing, staying home and saving lives. By drastically limiting our trips out of the house, we are slowing the spread and giving frontline responders a better shot at saving lives and getting coronavirus patients back on the road to recovery."
Mohammed Arsiwala, MD, president of the Michigan State Medical Society, issued the following statement:
“Extension of Governor Whitmer’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order through the end of April is the wise thing to do at this time. Physicians and their health care colleagues are still in the middle of the battle to treat patients suffering from COVID-19 across Michigan. While the work in and around Detroit is intense, we are starting to see signs of improvement, and the stay-home order and peoples’ cooperation with it has allowed other areas of Michigan with fewer known cases to prepare and ready supplies and facilities should they be needed.
This cannot and will not go on forever. We continue to work to put the needs of patients first while supporting physicians in protecting their personal health and the financial health of the many medical practices that have been shuttered during this time.”
AFT Michigan President David Hecker issued the following statement:
“AFT Michigan fully supports Governor Gretchen Whitmer's decision to extend the Stay Home, Stay Safe Order. Governor Whitmer is taking fact-based, decisive action to slow the spread of this disease and save lives. We know this will create further financial hardship for Michigan residents, especially lower-income families. We commend Governor Whitmer and the state departments working so hard to provide unemployment insurance benefits and financial assistance programs to families. This public health crisis is disproportionately hurting people of color and people living in poverty, and we are glad Governor Whitmer is creating a task force to address these disparities.”
State Rep. Annette Glenn, R-Midland, issued the following statement:
“While it’s absolutely crucial people continue social distancing to stop the spread of this virus, I don’t support more restrictions when it is possible to get people back to work safely so they can support themselves and their families.
Hundreds of Midland and Bay county residents have contacted me in the last couple of weeks who want to get back to work. These business owners fully understand the challenges we are facing, and they have comprehensive plans developed to ensure they can safely operate their businesses while protecting the safety of our communities, government shouldn’t stand in their way.
The Legislature and the governor share a common goal, to stop the spread of coronavirus and help Michigan families survive this challenge physically and economically. Yesterday, I hoped to hear Gov. Whitmer talk more about how we can safely get people back to work. As the state moves forward, we should shift focus from what is considered “essential” and “non-essential” and instead consider what jobs can be performed safely.
To achieve that goal, we need more and better information to make the best decisions possible. Why are certain businesses that could operate safely closed? Why is the state’s unemployment benefits system failing when Michigan families need it most? Families in Bay and Midland counties, as well as throughout Michigan, deserve answers.
Every job is essential when it’s the only thing putting food on a family’s table and a roof over their heads. We should allow all employees and businesses to go back to work who we determine can do so safely.”