Gov. Whitmer issues statewide stay at home order for 3 weeks

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LANSING (WJRT) (03/23/2020) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a statewide stay at home order Monday, limiting activity to operations only necessary to sustain or protect life to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, left, and Dr. Joneigh Khaldun of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services discuss the state's shelter in place order to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, residents are directed to stay in their homes unless they are performing critical services, engaging in an outdoor activity or completing tasks critical to for their health and safety.

RELATED: See what Michigan residents are allowed, not allowed to do under shelter in place order

Those activities include going to a park, taking someone to seek health care or shopping at a grocery store. Restaurants are allowed to remain open with only takeout or delivery service.

Everyone venturing out is advised to follow social distancing guidelines and remain six feet apart.

"The goal is simple: Stay home, stay safe, save lives," Whitmer said.

She said the order will remain in place for at least three weeks.

RELATED: Whitmer expects most Michigan residents to obey stay home order, but fines possible

Whitmer last week said she wasn't planning a state at home order, but her plans changed over the weekend based on "exponential growth" of coronavirus cases confirmed in Michigan, even with limited testing criteria in place.

"The current trajectory we're on looks a lot like Italy," she said.

Michigan has more than 1,300 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus. Whitmer said the shelter in place order will save lives by preventing further spread of coronavirus.

“This is an unprecedented crisis that requires all of us working together to protect our families and our communities,” Whitmer said. "The most effective way we can slow down the virus is to stay home. I know this will be hard, but it will be temporary."

Eleven other states of similar shelter in place orders, which took effect over the past four days.

The following activities are considered critical functions and allowed to continue during the shelter in place order:
-- Health care and public health.
-- Law enforcement, public safety and first responders.
-- Food and agriculture.
-- Energy.
-- Water and wastewater.
-- Transportation and logistics.
-- Public works.
-- Communications and information technology, including news media.
-- Other community-based government operations and essential functions.
-- Critical manufacturing.
-- Hazardous materials.
-- Financial services.
-- Chemical supply chains and safety.
-- Defense industrial base.

Monday's order prohibits employers from requiring workers to leave their homes unless they are necessary to sustain or protect life and conduct basic operations.

The order also prohibits any gatherings of any number of people outside a single household other than for recreational activities, such as walking, hiking, running or cycling.

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