Michigan residents have been ordered to stay inside their homes as part of a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced on Monday.
The order, effective at 12:01 a.m. on March 24, prohibits people leaving their home unless they are engaged in an outdoor activity, performing necessary tasks like going to a hospital or grocery store, or are part of an industry deemed essential. The lockdown will be in place for three weeks.
“In just 13 days, we’ve gone from zero to over 1,000 COVID-19 cases,” said Whitmer in a statement. “This is an unprecedented crisis that requires all of us working together to protect our families and our communities. 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. If we all come together, get serious, and do our part by staying home, we can stay safe and save lives.”
There are currently more than 1,300 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 15 deaths in Michigan, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The total for the United States currently sits at more than 33,000 confirmed cases and 400 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Businesses deemed essential include gas stations, grocery stores, health care, law enforcement and others that considered “essential to life.” Whitmer said in a press conference on Monday that restaurants will still be available for take-out and delivery.
“Don’t play fast and loose with what’s essential and what’s not. Don’t try to skirt the rules,” Whitmer said on Monday. “…The current trajectory we’re on looks a lot like Italy.”
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said in a statement that “taking aggressive action” is the “most important thing” Michigan can do.
“If we do this now, we can make sure our hospitals and healthcare workers are prepared to take care of the sickest people,” Khaldun said. “It is crucial that people do the right thing by staying home and staying safe.”
Whitmer added on Monday that there may be fines for businesses who do not comply with the order.
The order also bans gatherings of people from outside a single household.
“This is not a recommendation, this is an order,” Whitmer said.
Read the full executive order here.
Jordyn Pair is a reporter with Battleground State News and The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]