The holiday season will be a little different this year, but I hope everyone finds a way to have a happy, safe and meaningful Thanksgiving. As we move into the winter months, it is more important than ever to step up and do our part by masking up, maintaining social distancing and washing our hands. By continuing to take these precautions in our neighborhoods, communities and across our state now, we can turn the tide in the fight against COVID-19. The more aggressive our actions are today, the sooner we can get back to a more familiar tomorrow. And as we head into the holiday — and flu — season, we each have a responsibility to take this threat seriously.
With as quickly as things change, I know that this can be a confusing time for all of us. Be sure to regularly check Michigan.gov/coronavirus and CDC.gov/coronavirus for the latest information. If you have additional questions about what the state is doing to mitigate the spread of the virus you can call Michigan’s COVID-19 Hotline at (888) 535-6136 seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or email COVID19@michigan.gov and your questions will be answered from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
State Representative, 6th House District
This time of year can be particularly tough on families struggling to put food on the table, and those problems have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. To apply for food assistance through the state and explore various resources, please visit the MI Bridges website. Resources are also available by calling 2-1-1 or contacting your local food bank.
MDHHS Epidemic Order
The new epidemic order issued by MDHHS is aimed at limiting residential and non-residential gatherings where COVID-19 spreads rapidly. Bars and restaurants will be open for outdoor dining, carry-out and delivery only. Gyms will remain open for individual exercise with strict safety measures in place. Casinos, movie theaters and group exercise classes will be closed. Professional and college sports meeting extraordinary standards for risk mitigation may continue without spectators, but all other organized sports must stop. Colleges and high schools may proceed with remote learning, but must end in-person classes.
This order, which took effect on Wednesday, Nov. 18, leaves open work that can’t be performed from home, including manufacturing, construction and health occupations. Outdoor gatherings, outdoor dining and parks remain open. Individualized activities with distancing and face masks are still allowed: retail shopping; public transit; restaurant takeout; personal-care services such as haircuts, by appointment; and individualized exercise at a gym, with extra spacing between machines.
Michigan has seen fewer outbreaks associated with elementary and middle schools, and younger children are most in need of in-person instruction. In-person K-8 schooling may continue if it can be done with strong mitigation, including mask requirements, based on discussion between local health and school officials. Childcare also remains open to support working parents.
The teachers, childcare workers and health care professionals continue to serve on the front lines ensuring support for Michiganders across our state. We must take this three-week pause seriously, not only for our own loved ones, but for every hero risking their life and the health of their family as we continue to battle this ongoing crisis.
It’s that time of year when heating bills begin to increase, but there are a few tips you can use to ensure your home is being heated as efficiently as possible.
- Turn down your thermostat 2 degrees every other day until you find the lowest temperature at which you can be comfortable. You may be surprised to find that it is below 70 degrees.
- Turn down your thermostat when you go to sleep. Turn it down during the day if everyone is away all day.
- Close doors and turn off heat to the unused areas of your home.
- Close the drapes and pull the shades at night.
- “Balance” the system by regulating the heat directed to each room. This will eliminate wasted heat in “hot” areas of your home.
- Open shades and drapes on sunny days.
- Do not hold open outside doors for conversations.
- Clear all obstructions away from registers and grilles, such as drapes, rugs, and chairs, which would restrict air movement.
- Close fireplace damper when not in use.
- Wear heavier clothing at home.
Home Heating Resources
To explore resources to assist with home heating costs and other various resources, please visit the MI Bridges website.
Michigan Public Service Commission
The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) aims to protect the public by ensuring safe, reliable and accessible energy and telecommunications services at reasonable rates for Michigan’s residents. The MPSC also jointly administers the Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, which offers statewide programs that provide energy assistance and self-sufficiency services to eligible low-income households. For more information on this resource, visit their website by clicking here, or give them a call at (517) 284-8100.
Home Energy Saver
Offered by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Home Energy Saver calculator is a tool that empowers homeowners and renters to save money, live better and help the earth by reducing energy use in their homes. This resource recommends energy-saving upgrades that are specific to your home, while estimating the household’s carbon footprint and how much it can be reduced. To utilize the energy calculator for your home, visit the Home Energy Saver website at hes.lbl.gov/consumer/.
If you are unable to pay your Wayne County taxes to prevent the loss of your home for tax foreclosure you may be able to get assistance through the resources offered here.
Resources are also available through the Eviction Diversion Program, which is designed to keep Michigan residents who fell behind on their rent during COVID-19 in their homes. The program utilizes a special court process to get fast rental assistance for renters