To combat the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan, Gov. Whitmer signed the Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order today. For the next three weeks beginning at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday morning March 24, all Michigan businesses and operations must temporarily suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life, and all Michiganders must stay home unless they’re a part of that critical workforce, engaged in certain outdoor activities, or performing tasks necessary to the health and safety of themselves or their family, like going to the hospital or grocery store.
By taking these precautions now, we can each do our part to 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.
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) 535-6146 seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or email COVID@michigan.gov and your questions will be answered from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
Below you’ll find some helpful information about what the governor’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order means for you and your family.
Examples of permitted activities include:
- 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, biking.
- Go to the hospital or secure any care necessary to address a medical emergency or to preserve your health or the health of a loved one.
- Fill your 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 your pets and take them to the veterinarian for needed medical care.
However, you may not:
- Leave home for work unless your employer designates you 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).
- Go to the mall or to restaurants.
Businesses that remain open for in-person work must take aggressive steps to minimize the virus’s spread, including:
- Promoting remote work to the fullest extent possible.
- Restricting the number of workers present on the job.
- Keeping employees at least six feet from one another to the maximum extent possible and enabling social distancing for customers who are standing in line.
- Any other social distancing practices and mitigation measures recommended by the CDC.
Expanding Unemployment Benefits
Until Tuesday, April 14, Michigan is temporarily expanding unemployment benefit eligibility to those affected by COVID-19. Benefits will be extended to:
- Workers who have an unanticipated family care responsibility, like child care due to school closures or caring for a loved one who is ill;
- Workers who are sick, quarantined or immunocompromised, and do not have access to paid leave time or are laid off; and
- First responders in the public health community who become ill or are quarantined.
Benefits will also be extended from 20 to 26 weeks, the application eligibility period has been increased from 14 to 28 days, and the normal in-person registration and work search requirements will be suspended.
For more information or to apply for unemployment benefits, visit Michigan.gov/UIA or call (866) 500-0017.
The state is also seeking solutions for self-employed workers and independent contractors who traditionally do not have access to unemployment insurance. The governor has requested that President Trump issue a Major Disaster Declaration so that Individual Assistance and Disaster Unemployment Assistance through FEMA may be made available to additional Michiganders affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
School Meals for Students
To help ensure children who rely on food provided by schools still have access to the meals and resources they need, the Michigan Department of Education has developed an online tool for families. To find schools serving meals in your area, you can use the tool by clicking here.
This crisis is a defining moment for our community, our state and our country. These may be uncertain times for all of us, but I am confident that we will respond with the same strength and resilience that Michiganders always have.
State Representative, 6th House District