State of Michigan
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at past press conference.
As the coronavirus continues to sweep across Michigan at an alarming rate, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Thursday that she’s extending and expanding her stay-at-home order until at least April 30.
The order, which was set to expire on April 14, requires non-essential businesses to close and directs residents to stay at home, except to exercise or get essential supplies like food.
Under the new order, all public and private gatherings outside of a household are prohibited. Travel for vacations and anything else that isn't essential are barred.
The order also limits the number of people permitted to enter essential stores. For every 1,000 square feet of a large store, no more than four customers may be inside at one time. For smaller businesses, customers cannot exceed 25% of the total occupancy limits under the fire codes.
Since the order went into effect on March 24, the number of coronavirus deaths rose from 24 to more than 1,000. Michigan now has the third highest death toll in the nation, behind New York and New Jersey.
“We must continue to do everything we can to slow the spread and protect our families,” Whitmer said in a news release. “Data shows that most Michiganders are doing their part by staying home and staying safe. That’s good, but we must keep it up. When we do, we can save lives and shorten the amount of time we’re working through this crisis, which will be good for our families and good for our economy in the long-run. We can also protect critical infrastructure workers like doctors, nurses, grocery store employees, and child care workers. Now more than ever, it’s crucial that people stay home and stay safe.”
The number of positive coronavirus cases in the state increased from nearly 1,800, when the first executive order was issued, to now more than 21,000 people.
The increasing number of infections is taking a toll on hospitals, which are running out of ventilators, intensive-care beds, and personal protective gear like masks, gloves, and gowns. Hundreds of health care workers also have been infected with COVID-19.
More than 3,600 coronavirus patients have been hospitalized statewide, and nearly 1,400 are on ventilators, state health officials said Monday. Of those hospitalized, 89% are in southeast Michigan, which continues to see a disproportionate number of new cases and deaths.
Whitmer emphasized that the order may be extended past May 1.
“This doesn’t mean everything will go back to normal on May 1,” Whitmer said. “But based on the data we have right now, this is the appropriate window for an extension. It will take time to safely and responsibly re-open the economy, which is why we will continue to provide critical unemployment support and assistance to our small businesses during this challenging time. We will get through this if we all continue to do our part.”
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