VOLUNTEERS

Community volunteers gather at Oscoda High School to distribute pre-packaged breakfast and lunch meals on Wednesday, March 18 to give to local families during the pandemic.

LANSING – Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order (EO 2020-21), directing all Michigan businesses and operations to temporarily suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life. 

The order also directs Michiganders to stay in their homes unless they’re a part of that critical infrastructure workforce, engaged in an outdoor activity, or performing tasks necessary to the health and safety of themselves or their family, like going to the hospital or grocery store.  

The order became effective at 12:01 a.m. on March 24, for at least the next 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. 

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

“Taking aggressive action to protect our communities is the most important thing we can do to mitigate further spread of COVID-19,” said Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “If we do this now, we can make sure our hospitals and healthcare workers are prepared to take care of the sickest people. It is crucial that people do the right thing by staying home and staying safe.” 

Executive Order 2020-21 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. Businesses and operations are to designate the workers that meet those criteria, and must adopt social distancing practices and other mitigation measures to protect workers and patrons in the performance of that necessary in-person work.

Whitmer said workers that are necessary to sustain or protect life include those in health care and public health, law enforcement and public safety, grocery store workers, gas stations, utilities including energy and water, banks and credit unions, transportation and public works, childcare facilities and communications and information technology including the news media.

The offices of the Iosco County News-Herald and the Oscoda Press are open to the public for business, Mondays through Fridays. The News-Herald is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., but is closed for lunch from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. The Oscoda Press is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. including lunch. 

Additionally, under Executive Order 2020-21, all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring among persons outside a single household are temporarily prohibited. People may leave the house to perform for limited, necessary purposes, and may engage in outdoor activities like walking, hiking, running, cycling, or any other recreational activity, consistent with remaining at least six feet from people from outside a person’s household and with other restrictions imposed by prior executive orders. 

Under the governor’s executive order, K-12 school food services are considered critical infrastructure and should continue.

Michigan is currently in the top five states in the nation in number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Several governors across the country have taken similar steps to protect their communities from the spread of COVID-19.

The governor also announced Monday morning, March 23, that there are 1,232 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Michigan and 15 deaths.

On Saturday evening, Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-20, which makes clear that all facilities that provide non-essential personal care services must temporarily close. These services include hair, nail, tanning, massage, spa, tattoo, body art and piercing services and similar services that require individuals to be within 6 feet of each other. This order does not apply to services necessary for medical treatment as determined by a licensed medical provider.

The order also reaffirms the other temporary closures of places of public accommodation that were required by Executive Order 2020-9. The order became effective March 22 at 9 a.m. and remains in effect until April 13 at 11:59 p.m.

Whitmer also signed Executive Order 2020-19 on Friday evening, which allows tenants and mobile home owners to remain in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic even if they are unable to stay current on their rent. 

The order also relieves courts from certain statutory restrictions to enable them to stay eviction-related proceedings until after the COVID-19 emergency has passed. The executive order takes effect immediately and will remain in effect until April 17 at 11:59 p.m.