Latest stay home order extends restrictions through May 28, re-opens manufacturing
Governor Whitmer outlines six-stage MI Safe Start Plan for moving forward through coronavirus pandemic
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced a new stay home order on Thursday, May 7, extending restrictions on travel and commerce through May 28 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and allowing manufacturing businesses to re-open in the state.
Executive Order 2020-77, signed on May 7, replaces Executive Order 2020-70, the previous version of the “temporary requirement to suspend certain activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life.” Executive Order 2020-70 allowed construction and real estate businesses to re-open on May 7. Executive Order 2020-59, which the governor replaced with Executive Order 2020-70, allowed golf courses, landscaping, lawn care, and bicycle repair businesses to re-open.
On Thursday, Governor Whitmer said the state is making progress in its fight against the coronavirus, but re-opening the state’s economy will be conducted in phases.
“We’ve come a long way in the last two months. It’s been two months and it seems like a lot longer in many ways but we have to remember two months ago when our numbers were climbing exponentially. Michigan had the third highest number of COVID cases and we still have the third highest number of deaths in our country and we are the tenth largest state, and so because of this Michigan’s had a uniquely tough time with COVID-19 and that’s why we had to be aggressive,” Governor Whitmer said.
“The number of cases that we are seeing has started to plateau. This is because your staying at home has made a difference. This is because of all the action the people and the businesses of Michigan have taken to make sure that we flatten our curve,” Governor Whitmer said. “COVID-19 is still present in Michigan. It is present in 79 out of 83 counties and that’s why it’s terribly important that we not let our guard down now, that we consider this a very real threat, because it is. COVID-19 is still present and can grow if we don’t continue to be vigilant, if we let our guard down.”
“We have to remember the threat of a second wave is very real and it’s one that I hope we are unanimous in that none of us wants to see that happen. That wave can be as deadly or worse than the first and certainly as economically damaging as the first and that’s why this staged recovery is so critical. We have to continue to move incrementally and measure our data every step of the way,” Governor Whitmer said.
During a televised event on Thursday, May 7, Governor Whitmer outlined the state’s basic blueprint for moving forward through the coronavirus pandemic; it’s called the MI Safe Start Plan and it lists six phases. Progression through the phases depends on the known level of COVID-19 present in the state, Governor Whitmer said.
“There are six stages to our MI Safe Start (Plan) and each step forward is contingent on factors relating to the spread of COVID-19 and our ability to detect it, trace, and isolate positive cases,” Governor Whitmer said.
“Phase one is ‘uncontrolled growth.’ That’s where we were eight weeks ago. That’s where the increasing number of new cases every day begins to overwhelm our health systems and that’s when we start to take serious steps to curtail the spread,” Governor Whitmer said. “The second stage is ‘persistent spread,’ where we don’t see the exponential growth but we continue to see high case levels with concern about our health care system.”
“The third phase, which is ‘flattening,’ and that’s where we are right now. It’s when the epidemic is not increasing at those great rates and our healthcare system is sufficient to meet current needs,” Governor Whitmer said.
“Phase four, which is where we hope to move next in short order, is when we see cases and hospitalizations and deaths are clearly declining,” Governor Whitmer said. “The fifth stage is called ‘containing’ and that’s when we have continued case and death rate improvements and outbreaks are quickly contained, so if we see a spike somewhere we’re able to trace and test and keep it from a community spread.”
“The sixth phase, which is the ultimate goal, is ‘post pandemic,’ and that is when community spread is not expected to return. That’s going to be a while. We just have to be very clear about that. Post pandemic is when we have a vaccine or we have some sort of a cure or therapeutic that can cure COVID-19. That’s going to take a little while, but the good news is that we are starting to move forward,” Governor Whitmer said.
Governor Whitmer said precautions must continue so the state can continue to progress through the six phases. She called Executive Order 2020-77 the Safer At Home Order instead of referring to the list of regulations as the Stay Home, Stay Safe Order.
“In order to stay safe as we re-engage these sectors we need to continue practicing strict social distancing, wearing face coverings, using safe workplace practices. The state will continue to work on our testing capabilities and tracing capabilities and in this phase we can permit outdoor activities with distancing maintained. We know that even in this phase we are still safer at home and that’s why we’ll be extending the order through the 28th, because we are still safer at home,” Governor Whitmer said.
Executive Order 2020-77 continues most of the same limitations to business and travel as its predecessors. It continues to allow people to leave their homes for outdoor recreation and to purchase food and medicine and gasoline, among other exceptions. The order continues to list a number of employees allowed to work, including people in health care, law enforcement, agriculture, energy, financial services, news media, insurance, and child care.
The new order adds manufacturing to the list: “Workers necessary to perform start-up activities at manufacturing facilities, including activities necessary to prepare the facilities to follow the workplace safeguards; Effective at 12:01 a.m. on May 11, 2020, workers necessary to perform manufacturing activities, subject to the workplace safeguards. Manufacturing work may not commence until the facility at which the work will be performed has been prepared to follow the workplace safeguards.”
The “safeguards” mentioned in the order include “daily entry screening protocol for workers, contractors, suppliers, and any other individuals entering the facility, including a questionnaire covering symptoms and suspected or confirmed exposure to people with possible COVID-19, together with temperature screening as soon as no-touch thermometers can be obtained,” providing COVID-19 training to employees, using “personal protective equipment,” and increasing sanitization efforts.
Governor Whitmer said re-opening manufacturing was based on data that shows it’s “lower risk than others.”
“Every one of us has to play our part to get this right so employees and customers alike can have the confidence that they will be safe so we prevent spread and don’t have to dial back or worse yet go back to a stay home order,” Governor Whitmer said.
Executive Order 2020-77 continues the requirement for people to wear “face coverings” when entering indoor public places.
“Any individual able to medically tolerate a face covering must wear a covering over his or her nose and mouth – such as a homemade mask, scarf, bandana, or handkerchief – when in any enclosed public space,” according to Executive Order 2020-77.