City of Flint instituting curfew beginning Thursday evening
(4/1/2020) - Flint residents will be under a mandatory curfew beginning Thursday night as the city continues dealing with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The curfew will be in effect from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. for the next 30 days -- through the month of April. Stores, pharmacies and most other businesses will be closed by 9 p.m., when the curfew starts.
Violations will be considered a misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine.
"This is real, ladies and gentlemen," Mayor Sheldon Neeley said. "This is about enacting proactive solutions and protecting life."
Anyone providing or obtaining essential services are exempt from the curfew. Neeley said the definition of "essential" will follow Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order issued March 23.
He said Flint has to step up its efforts as the pandemic continues spreading. Neeley said the next two weeks are critical in Michigan's and the nation's fight against coronavirus.
The pandemic is expected to peak sometime in the month of April, but the number of deaths and new cases in Genesee County continues rising. Genesee County went from no cases two weeks ago to nearly 250 on Wednesday.
"We must remain vigilant," Neeley said. "We must remain proactive with our stance."
He said Michigan's stay home order involves self-governance, but it's not working. Flint officials are receiving reports of people congregating in parking lots after dark, which violates the order, Neeley said.
He promised "a real level of enforcement" at convenience stores and other areas where people have been gathering after dark.
"That is not acceptable. We have to take this serious," he said. "We need to curtail those places that the virus could spread."
Neeley also announced that bottled water deliveries will begin next week thanks to a larger donation from Nestle Waters North America. Anyone who needs water can apply by calling 810-410-2020.
Several churches are assisting the city with restarting home delivery of bottled water.