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Michigan’s stay home order extended to April 30

 Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (WJRT)
Published: Apr. 9, 2020 at 2:47 PM EDT
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(4/9/2020) – Michigan residents are required to stay home for three more weeks.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced an extension of her “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order until April 30 on Thursday. Residents are required to stay home except for essential purposes, such as grocery shopping or exercising.

The order promotes social distancing, which public health experts say is the best way to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“It’s clear that staying home is the most effective way we can slow the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan,” said Michigan's Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “This aggressive action will help us protect more people and ease the strain on our health care system.”

Whitmer said further extensions are possible.

“This doesn’t mean everything will go back to normal on May 1,” she said. “But based on the data we have right now, this is the appropriate window for an extension."

Whitmer said the extension likely won't be the last word from public health officials regarding efforts to keep family, friends and neighbors healthy.

"It's going to take us some time to get through this crisis," she said. "And while we hope to re-engage parts of our economy, we must always do so driven by what the best science and best practices for our health dictate."

Whitmer laid out various studies and data models showing Michigan's coronavirus cases could peak anywhere from this week to sometime in May based on a variety of factors.

She said the peak will occur lower and Michigan's number of cases could start falling if people follow social distancing guidelines, wear a mask in public and abide by the extended "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order.

"You can see that we are in control of our fate here and it depends on every one of us doing our part," Whitmer said.

The extension also includes new limits on how many people are allowed in stores and other enclosed spaces. Grocery and hardware stores are allowed to remain open, but they can only have four customers per 1,000 square feet space.

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Hardware stores also are required to block off areas selling non-essential products, such as carpeting, flooring, furniture, garden centers, plant nurseries and paint.

Small stores have to limit the number of customers inside to 25% of their total occupancy limits under the fire code.

Whitmer initially imposed the stay home order on March 24 for a three-week term. At the time, Michigan only had 1,300 confirmed coronavirus cases. However, Michigan’s number of coronavirus cases has surpassed 20,000 and deaths are near 1,000 Thursday.

Hundreds of Michigan businesses are required to remain closed under the order. Restaurants are still limited to offering takeout or delivery service only as long as the order remains in effect.

The order also prohibits all gatherings of any size outside a single household.

Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield disagreed with Whitmer's extension of the order. He believes the state should look for ways to allow more businesses to reopen rather than extend a blanket closure.

"Today was a chance for Michigan to take a positive step forward toward recovery, but instead families are going to continue to struggle under a one-size-fits all approach that puts fear ahead of public safety," Chatfield said. "The people we represent deserve better. The governor missed her chance.”

He doesn't believe the state government should be deciding which businesses are allowed to remain open based on whether they are essential or non-essential. Rather, Chatfield believes safety should be the only factor, because all businesses are essential to the economy.

"We need to make safety the deciding factor and allow people in low-risk communities and workplaces to begin getting back to normal," he said. "We can do all of that and still prioritize public health as the deciding factor."

Posted by Michigan State Police on Thursday, April 9, 2020