Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order Monday morning in response to COVID-19. The order will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, March 24 and requires all businesses deemed “non-essential” to suspend their operations until further notice.
This executive order is expected to last for the next three weeks and directs Michigan residents to remain at home unless they are part of the critical workforce. Michigan follows other states such as Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey and New York that have already issued stay-at-home executive orders.
Michigan reached over 1,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 this weekend. The first COVID-19 death in Washtenaw County occurred on Sunday at Michigan Medicine.
“Please know that even with today’s action, the number of cases will go up yet today, tomorrow and the days ahead. It will take some time for us to impact this,” Whitmer said. “We will be continually evaluating the science, the data, the impact on your health. It is going to take greater testing. We made strides, but we must do more so we can understand the challenges that we are confronting. So we can draw based on data.”
Essential services such as grocery stores, banks and pharmacies will stay open. Carry-out and delivery options at restaurants will also continue. Whitmer asked Michiganders to use delivery services as much as possible.
“Your grocery stores will be open. I have checked on our whole supply chain for food and it will be accessible,” Whitmer said. “Do not panic. Do not hoard. These services will remain open.”
This order will also keep Michigan schools closed until April 13. On March 12, Whitmer ordered the closure of all K-12 schools in the state.
Whitmer also addressed the misconception that young people are not susceptible to the fatal effects of COVID-19.
“Young people, I am talking to you now. You are not immune to this. You can get this virus,” Whitmer said. “In fact, 40% of cases of the hospitalized patients and tested positive are among people 20-49. You can carry this without even knowing it and unknowingly expose others to it.”
Access for testing for COVID-19 has increased throughout the state. The main symptoms for COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you believe you have these symptoms, call your healthcare provider. Individuals can also contact their local health department, which in Washtenaw County can be reached at 734-544-6700.
Reporter Jasmin Lee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org