Photo provided - Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order Monday directing Michiganders to stay in their homes and prohibiting businesses from requiring workers to leave their homes unless they are “necessary to sustain or protect life or to conduct minimum basic operations.”

'Stay Home, Stay Safe': Whitmer issues stay-at-home order for state

LANSING — The message to Michiganders is simple: Stay home and stay safe.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a stay-at-home executive order Monday, which directs businesses to temporarily suspend non-essential operations and directs Michiganders to stay in their homes under certain circumstances.

The order comes as the number of COVID-19 cases in Michigan rose to over 1,200 as of Monday, with 15 deaths reported from the virus.

Under the order, which went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday and will last until at least April 13, 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 order also 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. Workers that are necessary to sustain or protect life include those in health care and public health, law enforcement and public safety, and grocery store workers. A full list of those workers can be found at michigan.gov/coronavirus.

Businesses that remain open for in-person work, according to a summary on the state’s website, must take “aggressive steps” to minimize the spread of the virus, including promoting remote work, restricting the number of workers present, and implementing social distancing practices.

According to the order, people can still leave the house to do the following:

  • Go to the grocery store or pick up take-out food.
  • Go to the pharmacy to pick up a needed prescription.
  • Engage in outdoor activities like walking, hiking, running, and biking.
  • Go to the hospital or secure any care necessary to address a medical emergency or to preserve their health or the health of a loved one.
  • Fill their car with gas.
  • Return to Michigan to a home or place of residence from outside the State.
  • Leave the State for a home or residence elsewhere.
  • Walk their pets and take them to the veterinarian for needed medical care.

All public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring among persons outside a single household are still temporarily prohibited. In addition, people still cannot leave home to work unless their employer designates them as a “critical infrastructure worker,” participate in any public gatherings, visit someone in the hospital, nursing home, or other residential care facilities (with limited exceptions), and go to the mall or to restaurants.

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

According to a press release from Whitmer’s office, Michigan is currently in the top five states in the nation in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Other similar orders are in place in at least a dozen other states.

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 23 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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