Area schools and other buildings forced to close, restaurants limited to take-out service
Gov. Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-20, in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan, forces closures, restrictions for businesses such as restaurants, bars, gyms, theaters, casinos, hair salons, and more through April 13
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
Note: This article is no longer being updated.
A newer version is available here: http://crawfordcountyavalanche.com/news/stay-home-order-still-effect-man...
Last updated Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 5:12 p.m.
In Michigan, and in many other states across the United States, most places of business and public gathering loctions are closed due to continued efforts to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, COVID-19.
COVID-19 is a contagious respiratory illness believed to have originated in China. Its symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control, include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. In the United States, the CDC – as of March 25 – is reporting more than 54,000 cases of coronavirus with 737 deaths from the disease. The State of Michigan is reporting 2,294 cases with 43 deaths in the state, according to www.michigan.gov (as of March 25).
Schools & Sports
The Crawford AuSable School District closed all of its buildings on the afternoon of Friday, March 13, following a planned half-day of school. The action followed an order from Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer that all schools in the state must close from March 16 through April 5. The governor effectively extended the closure of schools through April 13 with Executive Order 2020-21 announced on Monday, March 23.
“I am ordering the closure of all K-12 school buildings in Michigan,” Gov. Whitmer said after the initial closue of Michgan schools. “This, we feel, is a necessary step to protect kids and teachers and families and our overall public health. Our number one priority is keeping our families and citizens safe and healthy and mitigating the spread of this virus.”
Grayling High School cancelled all of its spring sports practices and other school activities from March 13 through April 5 following the announcement from the governor.
The Michigan High School Athletic Association suspended its winter playoffs, including its tournaments for boys basketball and girls basketball, last week. It was a quick transition from proceeding with the tournaments as planned to limiting spectators at some tournaments to suspending the winter season playoffs.
“The MHSAA is working with state and local health authorities to monitor the developing COVID-19 situation in Michigan. At this time, all MHSAA postseason tournament events will be played as scheduled. If it becomes necessary to make adjustments to MHSAA tournament events, decisions will be made to ensure a healthy and safe environment for everyone involved,” the MHSAA said on Wednesday, March 11.
The next day, the morning of Thursday, March 12, the MHSAA announced it would be restricting attendance for its basketball, ice hockey, swimming, and gymnastics playoffs.
Approximately five hours later, the MHSAA suspended its playoff tournaments for the 2019-2020 season. The suspension resulted in the cancellation or postponement of regional final playoff games for girls basketball and district championship contests for boys basketball on Thursday and Friday, March 12 and 13, respectively.
“Based on the events of the last 48 hours and with things changing by the minute, we believe we have no choice but to suspend our winter tournaments immediately,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said. “This is a suspension until we have a better handle on the situation.”
On Friday, March 13, the MHSAA announced a directive for Michigan high schools to cease all sports activity.
“The Michigan High School Athletic Association has directed all member schools to suspend activities in all sports for all seasons – effective Monday, March 16 through at least Sunday, April 5 – to fall in line with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s order that all schools close for the next three weeks in order to deter the spread of COVID-19. All athletic activities to be halted include practices, scrimmages and competitions/games, as well as strength training, conditioning, and any other organized sessions and activities in all MHSAA in-season and out-of-season sports,” according to the MHSAA.
For the Crawford AuSable School District, part of the March 16 through April 5 mandated closure includes the district’s spring break. The district will lose at least eight days of normal sessions (March 16 through March 19 before spring break and March 31 through April 3 after break) due to the statewide school closure. With the “stay home, stay safe” Executive Order 2021 put into place on March 24, it seems likely the school system will be out at least through April 13, the duration of the new order.
“During this window, CASD was already scheduled to be closed for spring break from Friday, March 20, through Friday, March 27. Though this will extend our break, we recognize that this will be a significant disruption to the daily lives of our students, families, and our staff,” said CASD Superintendent Justin Gluesing.
“Effective Monday, March 16, only staff essential to district operations are allowed in buildings to the extent necessary. Only payroll, custodial/maintenance, central office staff, building administrators, and other personnel specifically authorized by the administration are permitted in district buildings. School offices should be considered closed for non-essential business,” Gluesing said. “During the closure, our custodial staff will be reporting to buildings to deep clean and sanitize all touch surfaces. This includes keyboards, bathrooms, door handles, and any other high-contact surfaces.”
“All community meetings or gatherings scheduled to take place within our school facilities are suspended until further notice,” Gluesing said. “This remains a fluid situation, and we will continue to provide updates to our staff, families, and community.”
The school district is trying to offer some of its services to students and families during the closure, including Viking Wellness Center medical help and breakfast and lunch assistance.
“(Viking Wellness Center) staff will be working to provide medical services for students by appointment only at District Health Department #10, 501 Norway Street. If you have questions or if your child is in need of medical services, please call 989-710-5050 to schedule an appointment,” according to CASD officials.
“During the next three weeks – March 16 through April 3 – the CASD Food Service Department will be offering free breakfast and lunch to all children age 18 and under on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The package will include two breakfasts and two lunches and will only be available for pickup at the following locations from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Grayling Elementary building (main entrance near Devereaux Library), Beaver Creek Township Hall, Frederic Township Hall, Maple Forest Township Hall, Lovells Township Hall. Please contact Kim Schmidt at 344-3757 if you have any questions,” according to CASD officials.
Kirtland Community College
Kirtland Community College’s campus is listed as closed until April 6.
“We have decided to close all campuses to the public and cease all in-person classes starting March 18, 2020 through April 6, 2020. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and determine if the closure period needs to be extended based on direction from the Center for Disease Control and government recommendations,” college officials said. “Online classes will continue as normal.”
“There is nothing more important than the health and well-being of our students, staff and faculty, and our entire community. We understand this decision will deeply affect many of our students. Though our campus is closed, we are available to you and committed to supporting your educational path. Our instructors will work with each student to discuss the way forward and we vow to do everything possible to see you through this challenging time. It is our full intent to be back up and running as soon as it is safe and possible,” said Dr. Tom Quinn, President of Kirtland Community College.
Kirtland has also announced a delay for its upcoming commencement ceremony.
“With great consideration for the health and safety of our students, staff, faculty, and the community, we have made the difficult decision to postpone commencement celebrations, which were scheduled to occur May 1, 2020,” college officials said.
“Kirtland’s staff and faculty are dedicated to taking every measure possible to ensure students graduate and receive their certificates on time this spring. We will do everything in our power to help our students reach that important milestone and move on to their desired careers. Regarding commencement, we understand how meaningful it is to celebrate your achievement and intend to reschedule the ceremonies as soon as possible,” Dr. Quinn said.
Orientation has also been postponed.
“The orientation for new students on May 5, 2020 is postponed until further notice,” according to www.kirtland.edu.
On Monday, March 16, the Crawford County library system announced it would be closing until April. Later, following the governor’s announcement of Executive Order 2020-21, the library extended its closure to match up with the order.
“Governor Whitmer has issued Executive Order 2020-20 (COVID-19), which extends the closure of libraries through April 13, 2020. We will reopen Tuesday, April 14. Interlibrary loans via MelCat have been suspended. Fines will be suspended during this time. Downloadable eBooks, audio books and streaming videos are still available. We encourage everyone to take the recommended precautions to stay safe and healthy during this time,” library officials said.
Restaurants, Bars, Theaters, Gyms, Etc.
Gov. Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-20, according to www.michigan.gov, mandates that “beginning as soon as possible but no later than March 22, 2020 at 9:00 a.m., and continuing until April 13, 2020 at 11:59 p.m., the following places of public accommodation are closed to ingress, egress, use, and occupancy by members of the public: restaurants, food courts, cafes, coffeehouses, and other places of public accommodation offering food or beverage for on-premises consumption; bars, taverns, brew pubs, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, tasting rooms, special licensees, clubs, and other places of public accommodation offering alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption; hookah bars, cigar bars, and vaping lounges offering their products for on-premises consumption; theaters, cinemas, and indoor and outdoor performance venues; libraries and museums; gymnasiums, fitness centers, recreation centers, indoor sports facilities, indoor exercise facilities, exercise studios, and facilities offering non-essential personal care services; casinos licensed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, racetracks licensed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, and Millionaire Parties licensed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board; and places of public amusement not otherwise listed above. ‘Non-essential personal care services’ includes but is not limited to hair, nail, tanning, massage, traditional spa, tattoo, body art, and piercing services, and similar personal care services that require individuals to be within six feet of each other. This does not include services necessary for medical treatment as determined by a licensed medical provider.”
The Executive Order does allow restaurants to serve customers through “delivery service, window service, walk-up service, drive-through service, or drive-up service.”
A few notable places not affected by the Executive Order: “Places of public accommodation that offer food and beverage not for on-premises consumption, including grocery stores, markets, convenience stores, pharmacies, drug stores, and food pantries; health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, and juvenile justice facilities; crisis shelters or similar institutions.”
Executive Order 2020-20 recently replaced Executive Order 2020-9, extending the closure of the facilities listed to April 13.
Secretary of State Office
Michigan’s Secretary of State offices are now closed as of Monday, March 23.
“In accordance with Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’executive order, all Secretary of State offices will be closing at 5 p.m. today until further notice to slow the spread of the coronavirus and protect public health. Late fees will be waived during this period,” according to www.michigan.gov. “Customers can complete many transactions using online services and can make an appointment for a future visit (subject to cancellation).”
Secretary of State offices are encouraging people to use online options or “self-serve stations.”
The closest Secretary of State Self-Service Station kiosk is located at the Gaylord Meijer (250 Meijer Drive, Gaylord, 49735).
Crawford County Governments & Services
Local government buildings are also closed or offering limited service for the next couple of weeks.
The Crawford County Building/Courthouse “has closed all buildings to the public. At this time we are asking the public to conduct any necessary business with the county via alternative means such as using this website (www.crawfordco.org), the US Postal Service, email, fax, and/or telephone,” according to www.crawfordco.org.
The City of Grayling is asking residents to conduct business with City Hall, if possible, “via U.S. mail, internet, or by using the drop box located next to the front door of City Hall. In-person appointments for business that is not able to be accomplished (through those means) can be made by calling City Hall at (989) 348-2131.”
The city’s “operational changes” are “in place effective immediately extending to April 13, 2020, at which time we will be reassessing these measures,” according to www.cityofgrayling.org.
The City of Grayling “has suspended all meetings and gatherings scheduled in its buildings during this time, including City Council, DDA/GMS, Parks & Rec, and Planning Commission,” according to www.cityofgrayling.org.
Grayling Charter Township has closed its recycling center “at the compactor from March 17 through April 14,” according to www.twp.grayling.mi.us, but “the compactor is open” for trash. Also, the township’s office “will be closed to the public until further notice. The office is staffed and available to receive your phone calls and emails for all departments. Phone (989) 348-4361.”
Lovells “has suspended the normal operating hours of the Township.”
Lovells Township officials are asking residents to call Cindy Infante-Inman, Lovells Township Clerk, at (989) 350-0089 or Gary Neumann, Lovells Township Supervisor, at (989) 348-9848 in order to “make an appointment to gain access.” The Lovells Transfer Station and Recycling Centers are still open but “the Lovells Township Board has instructed the Transfer Station attendants to maintain a social distance of at least six feet from residents while on duty.”
The Frederic Township offices “will be closed until further notice,” according to www.frederictownship.org. Also, the “Community Center and Recycle Center are closed till further notice,” according to the township.
Beaver Creek’s “township offices are closed to public March 16, 2020 thru April 5, offices will reopen April 6, 2020,” according to www.beavercreektownship.com.
South Branch Township’s offices are closed effective March 24 in accordance with Executive Order 2020-21, according to www.southbranchtownship.com.
The Road Commission office is currently closed.
“Following the recommendations designed to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Crawford County Road Commission will be closing our doors to the public until further notice. We will continue to take phone calls and will be monitoring our emails and website if you need to contact us,” according to www.crawford-crc.com. “The regular board meeting of April 2, 2020 has been cancelled.”
“The Crawford County Building and the Crawford County Court system are closed,” according to www.crawfordco.org.
According to the court system, “while the court offices are closed, staff will be available by telephone to address emergency matters: Circuit Court – Criminal/Civil/PPO (989) 344-3206; FOC – Domestic Relations/Custody/Parenting Time/Support (989) 344-3272; Juvenile Division – Child Neglect or Abuse/Juvenile Delinquency (989) 344-3239; Probate – Guardianship/Conservatorship/Mental Health Petitions (989) 344-3237; District Court – Criminal Matters/Arraignments (989) 344-3240. All after hours emergency matters will be handled by calling (989) 348-6341.”
More information is available at www.crawfordco.org and courts.michigan.gov.
Munson Healthcare facilities, including Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital, have instituted restrictions on people visiting patients.
“In accordance with Governor Whitmer’s directive for the state of Michigan, all visitors are prohibited from entering Munson Healthcare hospitals and facilities, with the following exceptions: Two visitors may accompany a pediatric or NICU patient. One visitor is permitted for OB/maternity patient during delivery. Visitors, including clergy and children who are 21 years of age or under, who are visiting patients that are at the end of their life. One visitor may accompany a surgical patient. If the surgical patient is admitted to the hospital post-surgery, the visitor must leave the hospital at that point. Visitors necessary for the provision of medical care for a patient (i.e. visitors who need to understand medical instructions for patients). Visitors who support of activities of daily living for a patient. Visitors who must exercise of power of attorney or court-appointed guardianship for a patient. Parents, foster parents, or guardians of patients who are 21 years of age or under. Visitors to a patient who is in serious or critical condition or in hospice care. Those who are visiting under exigent/urgent circumstances, including clergy. Visitors performing official governmental functions. Interpreters assisting with patient communication,” according to www.munsonhealthcare.org.
“Visitors who enter any Munson Healthcare facility will be screened. Please be prepared to answer questions about your current health, travel history, and contact with people exhibiting signs of COVID-19. Every individual must wash hands or use alcohol sanitizer before and after leaving any rooms as well as the Munson Healthcare facility,” according to www.munsonhealthcare.org.
North Central Area Credit Union’s lobbies are closed, but the drive through windows and ATMs are open, according to ncacu.org.
Northland Area Federal Credit Union is also closing its lobbies. “Effective Wednesday, March 18, all Northland branch lobbies will be closed and we will continue serving members by drive-thru only,” according to www.northlandcu.com.
Huntington Bank, according to a recent statement, will be open only through the drive-through service and ATMs.
St. John Lutheran Church has suspended its Sunday service “through the end of March,” according to stjohngrayling.com. “We anticipate resuming regular Worship Services April 5 Palm Sunday.”
Michelson Memorial United Methodist Church has suspended its events but it will offer online services and a modified version of its weekly dinners, according to the church’s Facebook page.
“Sunday worship services will be temporarily replaced with video studies posted twice a week via Facebook. Bible Study leaders will contact all those participating in their study to find creative ways to continue. Monday Night Community Dinners will continue but will be carry-out only. Diners will be able to pick up pre-packaged meals at the Michigan Avenue doors to enjoy at home,” according to the church’s Facebook page.
Grayling Free Methodist Church is “suspending all in-person services and activities through Sunday, April 5,” according to the church’s website, www.graylingfmc.org. Grayling Free Methodist Church plans to “live stream 8:30 worship service” online at the church’s website. “We will also record the worship and message to this page so you can access it anytime you want. We will do this each Sunday until Easter Sunday, April 12,” according to the church’s website.
Mt. Hope Lutheran Church has suspended its “services and Bible Study” but will offer weekly service online on YouTube, according to www.mthopelcmsgrayling.org.
Grayling Baptist Church has cancelled its Annual Easter Egg Hunt, according to Facebook.
Crawford County Commission on Aging
The Senior Center “will be closed to the general public effective Wednesday, March 18, until further notice,” according to the Crawford County Commission on Aging, but the COA “will continue to staff the office Monday (through) Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. If you need assistance, please call the office at (989) 348-7123.”
Many COA activities have been halted, but some programs will continue.
Crawford County Commission on Aging “activities, events, classes, and trips have been suspended until further notice,” but “Congregate Meals will continue to be offered Monday through Friday on a curbside take-out basis from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Meals can be picked up at that time for both lunch and dinner as well as meals for the weekend. Please call the COA at (989) 348-7123 to order your meal for take-out,” COA officials said.
“Meals on Wheels will continue to be delivered on an alternative schedule. Telephone reassurance calls will continue to be made to clients at home for safety checks. In-Home Services will continue to be offered with priority given to our clients in greatest need,” according to the COA. “The return of programs and services to its normal level remains unknown as the situation continues to change daily,” according to the COA.
AuSable Valley Animal Shelter
The AuSable Valley Animal Shelter is offering access to its facility “by appointment only.”
“We are committed to the well-being of the animals in our care, our staff, volunteers, and the public. During the COVID-19 public health emergency, AuSable Valley Animal Shelter will be open by appointment only for those interested in adopting a fur-baby,” according to the Animal Shelter’s Facebook page.
To schedule an appointment, call the AuSable Valley Animal Shelter at (989) 348-4117.
Grayling Regional Chamber of Commerce
The Grayling Regional Chamber of Commerce closed its “office to walk-in traffic effective beginning Tuesday, March 17, until further notice,” according to graylingchamber.com. “We will still be available to assist our business members and community via phone and email inquiries.”
The phone number for the Chamber of Commerce is (989) 348-2921. Email addresses are: Traci Cook, Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org; Hayley Strohpaul, Event Coordinator, email@example.com.
District Health Department #10 will be closing its offices “to the public from Monday, March 23, through Sunday, April 5,” according to www.dhd10.org, but people can still set up appointments. “We will continue to provide as many services as possible by appointment only. There will be signage at each building to direct those with appointments on what to do when they arrive.”
Contact District Health Department #10 by phone at (989) 348-7800.
District Health Department #10, as of Monday, March 23, reported “three positive COVID-19 cases” in its area – “one in Wexford County, one in Newaygo County, one in Kalkaska County.”
Hair, Nails, Tanning, Tattoos, Etc.
Gov. Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-20, which went into effect on March 22 and replaced Executive Order 2020-9, ordered the closure of more businesses in the state. The new order says that “non-essential personal care services” must shut their doors.
“That includes but is not limited to hair, nail, tanning, massage, traditional spa, tattoo, body art, and piercing services, and similar personal care services that require individuals to be within six feet of each other. This does not include services necessary for medical treatment as determined by a licensed medical provider,” according to Executive Order 2020-20.
For regular updates on the coronavirus situation in Crawford County, visit our website at www.crawfordcountyavalanche.com.