Detroit Regional Chamber > Understanding Gov. Whitmer’s Stay at Home Order

Understanding Gov. Whitmer’s Stay at Home Order

January 14, 2020
This is a stressful time. The economy is shut down, Gov. Whitmer extended the “Stay at Home, Stay Safe, Save Lives” order until April 30th, and everyone is making sacrifices to stop the spread of COVID-19.

It is important to remember that the more that is sacrificed now, the better positioned Michigan will be to restart the economy. When the time comes to restart the economy, the goal is to avoid a false start that could lead to losing more lives and doing further damage and actually restart the economy for good.

Economic Success = Health Success

Right now, the world is confronting two separate crises – a public health crisis and an economic crisis. Both of these crises are equally important and require equal focus to address. It is the job of our public officials to ensure the health of our people and the economic success of their constituency, and no official wants either of those two things to suffer.

Now is the time to come together and give our fellow Michiganders the benefit of the doubt. These are not partisan issues – just as those concerned with the state of the economy are not trying to kill people, those concerned with the public health are not trying to kill the economy.

Social Distancing – Why It Matters:

Stop the Spread, Flatten the Curve:

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the point of social distancing is to reduce the transmission, thereby delaying the epidemic peak, reducing the size of the epidemic peak, and spreading cases over a longer time to relieve pressure on the health care system.

Decisions made by Gov. Whitmer and other public officials are being guided by what public health experts and science have proven is necessary to limit, and essentially stop, the spread of the virus. By social distancing we are and will continue to, flatten the curve so we do not overwhelm our health care institutions that are not set up to handle a health crisis of this magnitude.

A new study out of China that was posted by the CDC, found that a single person with COVID-19 may be more likely to infect up to five or six other people, rather than two or three. Recently pegged the silent virus, an infected person can have zero symptoms and still spread the virus everywhere they go and with everyone they come in contact with.

Think about it this way: 

One asymptomatic, infected person goes and fills their gas tank. Every individual who pumps gas at that pump for the next 48 hours is potentially being exposed to the virus. That same person also goes to buy groceries, potentially infecting everything and everyone that the person comes in contact with. This is why social distancing and wearing masks will slow the spread.

Right now, there are grocery store workers, gas station workers, bus drivers, and other public servants other than health care workers that are being exposed, falling ill, and unfortunately dying from the virus. By limiting the number of people exposed, it limits the number of people infected.

Fact vs. Fiction: Stay at Home Executive Order 2020-42:

There is a lot of false information being disseminated on social media. The below breakdown of the Executive Order by the State of Michigan provides further guidance and clarification to facts vs. fiction.

Why are activities such as golfing or boating banned?

Yes, you can social distance while playing golf and while boating. However, opening up a golf course also requires individuals who maintain and operate the golf course who are not able to social distance to put their lives and yours at risk. Similarly, boating requires a trip to a gas station or fueling dock with employees that may not be able social distance.  The fewer people unnecessarily working, the quicker the economy will be able to re-open for everyone.

Why is X business stays open, while Y business has to close?

During a crisis, policymakers are balancing the knowledge that being overly prescriptive in business closures can lead to frustration, while also understanding that leaving too much room for interpretation can lead to unscrupulous actors.

Still, Michiganders are asking understandable questions about why certain items are available and others are not, or why certain businesses are essential while others are deemed non-essentilal. Many are asking “Why can I buy a lottery ticket but not a can of paint?”

Evidence suggests that very few people are leaving their houses to solely buy lottery tickets. Lottery vendors remain open because they also sell groceries, which are considered essential.

Paint, on the other hand, is not something you pick up on a whim when you are at a big box home goods store to pick up other permitted materials.  It is a reason you leave home and go to that store, and a reason that store brings more employees into work who otherwise would be safely social distancing at home.

It isn’t as if the shutdown of the paint aisles was necessary to keep the lottery up and running, of course.   The purpose of the stay at home order is to keep people at home, and all decisions being made by public officials should be viewed through that lens.

State of Michigan FAQ

  1. Are bicycle shop employees considered critical infrastructure for purposes of Executive Order 2020-42?
  2. Are car wash employees considered critical infrastructure employees?
  3. Are childcare workers considered critical infrastructure employees?
  4. Are employees of pest control companies considered critical infrastructure workers for the purposes of Executive Order 2020-42?
  5. Are furniture delivery workers considered critical infrastructure under EO 2020-42?
  6. Are golf courses allowed to stay open?
  7. Are laundromat / coin laundry employees considered critical infrastructure employees for the purposes of Executive Order 2020-42?
  8. Are massage spas allowed to be open to serve members of the public under the Executive Order?
  9. Are tobacco shops, cigar bars, vape shops, and hookah lounges able to stay open to the public under EO 2020-42?
  10. Can hardware stores remain open?
  11. Can hunting, shooting or target sports facilities/clubs continue to be open to the public?
  12. Can pool or spa stores remain open to the public?
  13. Do businesses or operations who employ critical infrastructure workers still need to designate suppliers, distribution centers, or service providers in order to keep them in operation?
  14. Do employees of sporting goods stores and outdoor recreation stores constitute critical infrastructure workers?
  15. Do I need to carry credentials or any paperwork that indicates I’ve been designated a critical infrastructure employee or to travel to and from my home or residence?
  16. Does boating constitute “outdoor activity” under the new executive order?
  17. Does Executive Order 2020-42 ban the purchasing of car seats for children?
  18. Does Executive Order 2020-42 prohibit buying an American flag?
  19. Does traveling to and attending a religious service in a parking lot of a place of religious worship with congregants remaining in their own vehicles constitute using a place of worship for religious worship under section 13 of the order?
  20. Is bottle return an essential service?
  21. Is construction allowed under the executive order?
  22. May campgrounds remain open for public use under Executive Order 2020-42?
  23. May craft/hobby stores continue to remain open to the public?
  24. Are real estate agents, brokers, and real estate service employees considered critical infrastructure workers under 2020-42?
  25. Under the Stay Home, Stay Safe EO, can school districts continue to provide food service for students?
  26. Are automotive dealership workers considered critical infrastructure under Executive Order 2020-42?
  27. Are hotels and motels to remain open Executive Order 2020-42?
  28. Are manufacturing workers considered critical infrastructure?
  29. Are people who repair homes considered critical infrastructure employees for the purposes of Executive Order 2020-42?
  30. Can law firms, attorney offices and legal aid clinics continue in-person activities?
  31. Can security companies and security guards continue to operate?
  32. Can vehicles under an existing contract be delivered to police departments?
  33. Does Executive Order 2020-42 prohibit persons from engaging in outdoor activities that are protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution?
  34. Does in-person work that is essential to sustain or protect human life also include in-person work to prevent severe psychological harm?
  35. How does this order impact custody agreements / how does this order impact parent’s visits with their children placed in foster care?
  36. If a business employs critical infrastructure workers, can the business conduct both its critical infrastructure and non-critical infrastructure operations?
  37. May a company that performs oil changes and other routine automotive maintenance services provide those services in person to the public?
  38. May landscaping, lawncare, tree service, irrigation, and related outdoor maintenance companies operate under this order?
  39. May members of the media continue to have access to the station to relay news?