As we continue to track cases of COVID-19 in Michigan, it’s important for all of us to continue taking the appropriate precautions to keep everyone safe and to slow the spread of this disease.
For a complete list of strategies from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to minimize your risk of exposure and to keep you and your loved ones healthy, click here. For the latest information as the situation continues to develop, visit Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.
Additionally, below you’ll find information regarding Gov. Whitmer’s recent executive order updating her MI Safe Start Plan.
MI Safe Start Update
Thanks to the steps Michiganders have taken to slow the spread of COVID-19, we’re able to begin safely and carefully reopening our state. Although Gov. Whitmer’s Stay Home order is still in effect, several additional activities may resume as long as residents remain vigilant and take precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones from the virus.
Small group gatherings of no more than 10 people may resume immediately, but residents are encouraged to continue taking precautions like wearing masks and regularly washing their hands.
Beginning May 26, the following activities may resume statewide with appropriate safety practices in place:
- Shopping at retail stores by appointment.
- Visiting motor vehicle showrooms by appointment.
Beginning May 29, the following activities may also resume statewide with heightened safety protocols:
- Elective medical and dental procedures.
- Veterinary care for pets.
On Monday, May 18, Gov. Whitmer signed an executive order to allow for the reopening of two northern regions of the state beginning Friday, May 22, including the Upper Peninsula and the Traverse City region. This allows for retail businesses, some office work, and restaurants and bars with limited seating to begin reopening. All businesses that will reopen in these regions must adopt proper safety measures, practices and training, including:
- Workplace infection-control practices;
- The proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE);
- Steps workers must take to notify the business or operation of any symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19; and
- How to report unsafe working conditions.
Restaurants and bars in these regions are required to limit their capacity to 50 percent of their normal seating to keep groups at least 6 feet from one another, along with requirements of servers to wear masks and other employees to follow rigorous disinfection protocols. This executive order still allows for cities, villages, townships and other local entities to choose to take a more cautious course of re-engagement if they wish.
On Friday, May 15, Gov. Whitmer announced the creation of the Return to Learning Advisory Council through Executive Order 2020-88. This group will bring together Michigan students, parents, frontline educators, administrators and public health officials to provide the COVID-19 Task Force on Education within the State Emergency Operations Center with recommendations on how to safely, equitably and efficiently return to school in the fall. Some of the key issues schools must consider before opening include:
- Performing outreach to ensure the voices of stakeholders are included in the discussion of implementing the 2020-2021 school year in these challenging and uncharted circumstances.
- Ensuring experts in public health and epidemiology are informing the discussion of safely returning to school.
- Recommending actions to remove statutory and administrative barriers to delivering education before we are at Phase 6 of the MI Safe Start Plan.
- Recommending actions to develop and improve systems for remedial support for students who experienced learning loss during the spring and summer.
The Return to Learning Advisory Council will be made up of more than 20 members representing K-12 administrators and educators, health experts and community stakeholders.
For more information on Gov. Whitmer’s MI Safe Start Plan, click here.
Since the beginning of the crisis on March 15, over 1.7 million Michiganders have filed for unemployment. Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) has reported that roughly 92 percent of the individuals who were eligible for unemployment benefits had already or would soon receive them as of May 13th.
For more information or to apply for unemployment benefits, visit Michigan.gov/UIA or call (866) 500-0017.
If you are having difficulties with your unemployment claim, please call my office at (517)-373-0152 or simply respond to this email with your name, number, address, letter ID from the latest communication you’ve received and a description of the problem you’re having.
The number of Michigan workers displaced by this pandemic has resulted in significantly increased online and phone traffic to UIA. While UIA mobilizes its entire team to respond to claims and hires hundreds of additional staff to assist, they encourage workers to follow a new filing schedule to streamline the process.
Online Filing Schedule — Michigan.gov/UIA.
Workers are encouraged to go online during off-peak times between 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.
- Last names beginning with letters A-L are asked to file claims on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays.
- Last names beginning with letters M-Z are asked to file claims on Sundays, Tuesdays, or Thursdays.
- Saturdays will be available for anyone to accommodate those who could not file during their allotted window.
Call Center Filing Schedule — (866) 500-0017
- Last names beginning with letters A-L are asked to call on Mondays and Wednesdays between 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Last names beginning with letters M-Z are asked to call on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Fridays between 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. will be available for anyone to accommodate those who could not file during their allotted window.
Remember, the day or time of day in which a claim is filed will not impact whether a worker receives benefits or their benefit amount. Additionally, claims will be back-dated to reflect the date in which a claimant was laid-off or let go from their job due to COVID-19. The eligibility window to apply has also been increased from 14 to 28 days from the date of their work stoppage.
State Representative, 95th House District