Category Archives: State & Region

Whitmer lifts stay-home order in Michigan, allows bars and restaurants to reopen, and more


Posted by Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub| June 1, 2020

Governor Whitmer signed an order Monday that will allow retailers to reopen on June 4 and restaurants to reopen on June 8, both subject to capacity limits.

Day camps for children will also be permitted to open on June 8.

Effective immediately, groups of 100 or less will be allowed gather outdoors with social distancing.

Office work that is not capable of being performed remotely can resume, and in-home services, including housecleaning services, can resume operations.

Gyms and fitness centers may conduct outdoor classes, practices, training sessions, or games, provided that coaches, spectators, and participants maintain six feet of distance from one another during these activities.

Outdoor pools can also reopen, with restricted capacity.

Whitmer said the entire state is moving to phase four of the MI Safe Start Plan.

“The data has shown that we are ready to carefully move our state into the next phase of the MI Safe Start Plan, but we owe it to our brave frontline heroes to get this right,” said Governor Whitmer. “While Michiganders are no longer required to stay home, we must all continue to be smart and practice social distancing, and encourage those who meet the criteria to get tested for COVID-19. If we all do our part, our goal is to announce a shift to phase five for the entire state prior to the fourth of July. Stay smart, stay safe, and let’s all do our part.”

Michiganders must continue to wear facial coverings when in enclosed public spaces and should continue to take all reasonable precautions to protect themselves, their loved ones, and the community. And they should continue to work from home to the maximum extent possible.

“The governor and I, along with a team of experts, have determined that our state is ready to move into the next phase of the MI Safe Start Plan. Hospitalization numbers are down, our frontline workers have PPE to last them several weeks, and the number of positive cases and deaths are declining,” said MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “We will continue to monitor the data and work closely with local health departments to ensure Michiganders practice safe social distancing. On behalf of our health care professionals and first responders on the front lines, we must all be smart and be safe.”

Wayne County leaders weigh in:

“As the hardest-hit region in the state, Wayne County and its residents are ready to safely return to greater activity and commerce,” said Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans. “We continue to vigilantly monitor the spread of COVID-19 and will do so to make sure the number of daily cases continues to decline. It’s is been an extremely difficulty three months for all of us, but the social distancing measures we have put in place has slowed the spread of this disease and saved lives. Today is an important step toward returning to some semblance of normalcy, but it is important for all of to continue following that safe distancing and work directives outlined in Stage 4 of the MI Safe Start plan.”

“I appreciate Governor Whitmer for her diligence and commitment to reopening the state safely. We look forward to reopening Detroit safely and efficiently,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.


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Secretary of State branches to reopen June 1 by appointment only

 


Posted by Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub| May 26, 2020

Secretary of State branch offices will reopen June 1 by appointment only for essential transactions not available online in order to continue to balance the need to provide critical services and protect public health.

“While the offices were closed to the public we conducted more than 3,000 emergency appointments for essential workers and planned and implemented protocols so that we could reopen in a way that ensures the safety of employees and all Michiganders,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “Customers can be confident they’ll be able to conduct their business with us safely and efficiently.”

Beginning the week of June 1, all 131 branch offices in Michigan will be open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for appointment only services for transactions including:

-Driver licenses and state ID transactions that must be done in person
-Title transfers
-Operator, CDL, chauffeur, mechanic and motorcycle testing
-Seasonal commercial vehicle renewal
-Branch staff will follow strict health and safety protocols, including wearing masks, standing six feet apart, using desk shields, and continuously disinfecting shared or common surfaces. -Branch doors will be locked, and each branch will have a greeter to let customers with appointments in at scheduled appointment times. A copy of the department’s reopening preparedness plan can be found here.

Anyone scheduling an appointment or receiving an appointment reminder will also be instructed on how to safely attend their appointment by:

-Arriving at the appointment alone
-Wearing a mask or homemade face covering over their mouth and nose
-Waiting in their vehicle or outside prior to the appointment time and maintaining six feet of distance when announcing themselves and their appointment to staff at the doors
-Following directions on where to stand during the transaction — only stepping forward toward the clerk when providing or retrieving documents
-Cancelling their appointment if they develop symptoms of COVID-19 or come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 within 14 days of the appointment
-Adhering to CDC guidelines when in public
I-n addition to preparing to reopen branches, the Michigan Department of State began sending updated renewal forms this week, color coded based on the type of transaction needed and with streamlined information to explain how best to conduct the transaction.

Renewal forms, which will be mailed in redesigned envelopes measuring 9.5 inches by 6 inches, come in six colors:

Red: Vehicle registration
Blue: Driver’s license
Green: State identification card
Teal: Watercraft
Gray: Snowmobile
Purple: Special plate
Instructions are provided at the bottom of each form to direct customers on options for renewing their credential, providing information on whether they can complete their transaction online, at a self-service station or by mail, or if they will need to schedule an appointment at a branch office.

A sample of the updated renewal forms can be found here. To schedule an appointment visit Michigan.gov/SOS or call 888-SOS-MICH. Advance appointments can be made up to 180 days ahead of time. Same-day appointments become available 24 hours prior to the appointment time.


 

New Michigan website provides COVID-19 risk and trend data

Seen here is a May 26, 2020 screen shot of the new MI Start Map website launched by the state of Michigan.


Posted by Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub| May 26, 2020

A new online dashboard launched today visually illustrates COVID-19 risks and trends in Michigan

The website provides residents with information about the pandemic status where they live and work.

You can visit the website at this link: https://www.mistartmap.info/

The website was developed through a collaboration between Michigan’s departments of Health and Human Services and Labor and Economic Opportunity, and the University of Michigan.

The dashboard data is divided into Michigan Economic Recovery Committee (MERC) regions.

“MERC regions were developed by merging Michigan’s Emergency Preparedness Regions and Michigan’s labor sheds – the major areas of the state where people live and travel to work based on U.S. Department of Labor data – so that any outbreak resulting from a return to work could be handled effectively under public health laws,” a statement from the state of Michigan said.

The COVID-19 data displayed on the dashboard represents publicly available case, death and test data analyzed to determine overall level of risk and key trends.

Graphs, numbers and trends provide a snapshot of how much virus is in a community, and whether it is increasing or decreasing.

Risk levels were developed by MDHHS and the U-M School of Public Health using guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, national Guidelines for Opening America and several other leading national organizations.

“The risk levels tell us whether there is high, medium or low risk of COVID-19 spread in a community and can help highlight areas where more social distancing may be needed, or where vulnerable individuals should be particularly careful,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health.

The dashboard was designed and created by faculty at U-M School of Information and School of Public Health and presents risk and capacity indicators that inform implementation of the MI Safe Start Plan.

These indicators fall into three categories: epidemic spread, health system capacity and public health capacity.

Each indicator displays a level of risk. The indicators, along with other epidemiologic information, inform the overall risk level for a region.

It also incorporates on-the-ground knowledge, such as whether new cases of COVID-19 are localized to a single outbreak or represent community-wide spread.

“The U-M team is very excited to build this dashboard for the people and State of Michigan,” said Sharon Kardia, Ph.D., associate dean at U-M School of Public Health. “This precision public health dashboard is very unique as it clearly shows everyone why some regions can open up more rapidly than others.”

In addition to the risk and capacity indicators, other considerations such as the availability of mitigation measures, the risk posed by certain activities and other economic factors also inform decisions under the MI Safe Start Plan, officials said.


You can view a special COVID-19 (coronavirus) news section on HuronHub.com by clicking on this link.

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Whitmer extends validity of watercraft registrations

(Photo/Pexels)


Posted by The Huron Hub| May 26, 2020

Governor Whitmer signed an order May 22 extending the validity of watercraft registrations that expired after February 1, 2020 to July 31, 2020.

“As temperatures continue to warm up, recreational boaters should not have to worry about their watercraft registration expiring at no fault of their own,” Whitmer said. “This Executive Order will allow all watercraft users to safely take full advantage of this beautiful weather and Michigan’s pristine lakes and rivers, while minimizing in-person work in order to flatten the COVID-19 curve.”

New watercraft can be operated in Michigan waters until July 31, 2020 without displaying an identifying number and decal, provided the operator of the vessel possesses a proof of purchase or equivalent evidence that the vessel was acquired after January 1, 2020.

Additionally, law enforcement cannot issue tickets as a result of watercraft decals that expired after September 30, 2019. The state cannot assess late fees for expired decals as long as boaters renew their registration by July 31.

Boaters are asked to complete their watercraft registration renewals during the state’s emergency and disaster declarations at www.michigan.gov/sos.

“I appreciate Governor Gretchen Whitmer extending these expirations,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “It will give flexibility and peace of mind to watercraft owners across the state, and reduce in-person interactions at Secretary of State branch offices.”


 

Whitmer extends stay home order through June 12


Posted by The Huron Hub| May 22, 2020

Governor Gretchen Whitmer today signed Executive Order 2020-100 to extend Michigan’s “Safer at Home” order until June 12.

The governor’s order also extends the temporary closure of certain places of public accommodation such as theaters, gyms, and casinos.

The governor also signed Executive Order 2020-99 to extend the state of emergency declaration related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was upheld by Judge Cynthia Stephens on May 21, 2020.

The governor says her “aggressive measures are working, but there is still more to be done. For instance, cases in some counties in Western and Mid-Michigan are now doubling approximately every 10 days.”

“To continue to protect Michigan families from both the public health and economic impacts of the virus, and to lower the chance of a second wave, the governor’s emergency declaration is extended until June 19, 2020.”

“While the data shows that we are making progress, we are not out of the woods yet. If we’re going to lower the chance of a second wave and continue to protect our neighbors and loved ones from the spread of this virus, we must continue to do our part by staying safer at home,” said Governor Whitmer. “If we open too soon, thousands more could die and our hospitals will get overwhelmed.  While we finally have more protective equipment like masks, we can’t run the risk of running low again. We owe it to the real heroes on the front lines of this crisis – our first responders, health care workers, and critical workers putting their lives on the line every day – to do what we can ourselves to stop the spread of the virus.”

Executive Order 2020-100 also clarifies and, as necessary, extends the duration of a number of previous executive orders designed to protect Michiganders and to provide them the support they need.

The extended orders cover protections for workers who stay home and stay safe when they or their close contacts are sick, restoring water service to those whose water has been shut off, the affirmation of non-discrimination policies in the provision of COVID-19 care, and more.

“All of us know the importance of getting people back to work and the economy moving again,” said Governor Whitmer. “We’ve already loosened some restrictions on construction, manufacturing, landscaping, retail, and more. But the worst thing we can do is open up in a way that causes a second wave of infections and death, puts health care workers at further risk, and wipes out all the progress we’ve made.”

Governor Whitmer has taken a number of actions to safely re-engage Michigan’s economy in a way that protects workers and their families. Most recently, she signed executive order 2020-96 to reopen retail businesses and auto dealerships by appointment statewide on Tuesday, May 26, as part of her MI Safe Start plan. Effective on Friday, May 29, the governor also lifted the requirement that health care providers delay some nonessential medical, dental, and veterinary procedures statewide. And the governor also authorized small gatherings of 10 people or less starting immediately, as long as participants practice social distancing.

Businesses that the governor has authorized to reopen must provide COVID-19 training to workers that covers, at a minimum, workplace infection-control practices, the proper use of PPE, steps workers must take to notify the business or operation of any symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, and how to report unsafe working conditions.

To view Executive Orders 2020-99 and 2020-100, click the link below:

Photos: Air Force One flies over Huron Township, lands at Detroit Metro Airport

Scott Bolthouse — The Huron Hub


By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub
ScottBolthouse@HuronHub.com

Posted May 21, 2020

Air Force One’s flight path to Michigan took it directly over Huron Township Thursday afternoon.

President Donald Trump is in Michigan to tour Ford’s Ypsilanti plant. (read more about Trump’s visit here)

Here are photos as the plane approached Detroit Metro Airport:
Photos by Scott Bolthouse — The Huron Hub


 

Whitmer reopens auto dealerships and retail businesses by appointment; authorizes nonessential medical, dental, veterinary procedures


Posted by The Huron Hub | Press Release Desk | May 21, 2020

Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed executive order 2020-96 to reopen retail businesses and auto dealerships by appointment statewide on Tuesday, May 26, as part of her MI Safe Start plan. The governor’s executive order also lifts the requirement that health care providers delay some nonessential medical, dental, and veterinary procedures statewide beginning on Friday, May 29. And the order authorizes small gatherings of 10 people or less starting immediately, as long as participants practice social distancing.

“The data shows that Michigan is ready to phase in these sectors of our economy, but we must stay vigilant and ensure we’re doing everything we can to protect ourselves and our families from the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Whitmer. “On behalf of our brave first responders on the front lines of this crisis, we must continue to all do our part by staying safer at home. We owe it to them to do what we can to stop the spread of this virus.”

“As businesses continue to reopen, it’s crucial that they adopt strict safety measures to protect their employees, customers, and their families,” said MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “I know that as medical professionals begin offering nonessential procedures again, they will do everything in their power to protect patients and their families from COVID-19. I will continue to work with Governor Whitmer and our partners across Michigan to protect our families and lower the chance of a second wave.”

“This is great news for dealerships across the state,” said Doug North, President of North Brothers Ford. “We appreciate the governor’s leadership, and we welcome the opportunity to serve our customers in a way that helps keep everyone safe from the showroom floor to the open road.”

The governor also signed a separate order, Executive Order 2020-97, updating a prior rule on workplace safety. Per the amended order, reopened outpatient health-care facilities, including clinics, primary care physician offices, and dental offices, will have to adopt strict protocols to prevent infection. The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs will issue guidance to aid those facilities in adopting appropriate safeguards.

As before, businesses maintaining in-person activities must adopt social distancing practices and other mitigation measures to protect workers. They must, among other things, provide COVID-19 training to workers that covers, at a minimum, workplace infection-control practices, the proper use of PPE, steps workers must take to notify the business or operation of any symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, and how to report unsafe working conditions.

“With today’s announcement, physicians and health care providers in Michigan are ready to resume taking care of patients,” said Dr. Bobby Mukkamala, president of the Michigan State Medical Society. “It is time for patients to catch up on the care that has been deferred for the past two months. We encourage the citizens of Michigan to tend to their health and protect each other by following public health guidance to prevent spread of this virus.”

Consistent with the governor’s previous Safer at Home orders, any individual able to medically tolerate a face covering must wear a covering over his or her nose and mouth—like a homemade mask, scarf, bandana, or handkerchief—when in any enclosed public space. Michiganders who are not working as critical infrastructure workers or at a business that has been authorized to reopen should stay home to protect themselves and their families from the spread of COVID-19.