Michigan residents failing to comply with the state’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order could be fined up to $1,000 and see criminal penalties, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced on Thursday.
“A person can have coronavirus without knowing it,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon in a statement. “They can spread the disease to others who can spread it to others. The only way to stop the spread is social distancing. A civil penalty and potential licensing actions send a strong message to Michiganders that social distancing is essential to saving lives.”
The fines can be issued for failing to comply with executive orders 2020-11 and 2020-20, which prohibit large events, closes schools, and restricts the use of restaurants and other nonessential businesses. Penalties can also be issued for not complying with Executive Order 2020-21, which is Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” shelter-in-place order restricting gathering and travel beyond essentials like getting groceries or for medical care.
The penalty will also apply to executive orders that may replace current guidelines. It is in effect until either rescinded or there is no longer a state of emergency in Michigan.
“There is not a vaccine or a recognized treatment for COVID-19 and our healthcare system is being severely taxed by this pandemic,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health, in a statement. “We need people to heed the Stay Home, Stay Safe order as well as other orders issued by the Governor to protect the health and safety of all Michiganders.”
Non-essential business not complying with the orders could also see penalties and will be referred to their licensing agency, the department said. The MDHHS announcement also said that law enforcement are “specifically authorized to bar access to businesses and operation that fail to comply with the procedures and restrictions.”
As of Friday afternoon, Michigan has more than 12,700 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, according to data from the MDHHS. The death toll for the state is 479.
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