LANSING — Today, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed executive order 2020-59, extending her “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order through May 15.
The new order will require people to wear homemade face coverings when they enter enclosed public spaces. It will also lift some restrictions on outdoor activities and allow some workers who perform previously suspended activities to go back to work.
“Data shows that most Michiganders are doing their part by staying home and staying safe. That’s good, but we must keep it up. Social distancing is our best weapon to defeat this enemy,” said Whitmer. “With new COVID-19 cases leveling off, however, we are lifting some of the restrictions put in place in the previous order. I want to be crystal clear: the overarching message today is still the same. We must all do our part by staying home and staying safe as much as possible.”
“The numbers we’ve seen in the past week have shown a plateau in positive cases, but Michiganders must continue doing their part to fight this virus and protect their families,” said MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “The governor has taken a number of critical steps to protect Michigan families, and this order today will allow that work to continue. We will keep monitoring the data closely and work with our partners across state government to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”
The order will require people to wear homemade, non-medical grade face coverings when they enter enclosed public spaces. It will also require employers to provide at least cloth face coverings to their employees. People won’t have to wear face coverings when they’re taking a walk in the neighborhood, but when they go to the grocery store, they should be wearing one. Under the order, however, no one will be subject to criminal penalty for going without a mask.
The new executive order will also allow some workers who perform very previously suspended activities to go back on the job. Landscapers, lawn-service companies, and nurseries can return to work, subject to strict social distancing. Retailers to that do not sell necessary supplies may reopen for curbside pick-up and for delivery. Big box stores can reopen “closed areas,” like garden centers. And bike repair and maintenance can come back online.
At the same time, the order will ease up on some restrictions on members of the public. It will, for example, allow motorized boating and golf (but no golf carts), consistent with sound social distancing. It will also permit individuals to travel between their residences, though such travel during the epidemic is strongly discouraged. And it will clarify that state parks remain open, as they have been throughout the emergency.
The governor’s actions today are in close alignment with other Midwest states. On April 16, Governor Whitmer announced that she and Governors Mike DeWine (OH), Tony Evers (WI), Tim Walz (MN), JB Pritzker (IL), Eric Holcomb (IN), and Andy Beshear (KY) will work in close coordination to reopen the economy in the Midwest region. The governor is committed to continuing to work closely with other governors to protect families and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. – G.G.