In collaboration with the Western U.P. Health Department and Emergency Operation Centers in Baraga County, Gogebic County, Houghton County, Keweenaw County and Ontonagon County, Copper Country Strong Daily Briefs will be shared each weekday through the duration of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
You can receive an email alert when a new briefing is posted. Subscribe here.
- Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-92, allowing for the reopening, in two regions, of retail businesses, office work that cannot be done remotely, and restaurants and bars with limited seating. The two regions are both in the northern part of the state—specifically, MERC regions 6 and 8, as detailed in the governor’s MI Safe Start Plan to re-engage Michigan’s economy.
The partial reopening will take effect on Friday, May 22. Cities, villages, and townships may choose to take a more cautious course if they wish: the order does not abridge their authority to restrict the operations of restaurants or bars, including limiting such establishments to outdoor seating.
“This is a big step, but we must all remember to continue doing our part to protect ourselves and our families from the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Whitmer. “It’s crucial that all businesses do everything in their power to protect their workers, customers, and their families. And as we approach Memorial Day weekend, I encourage everyone to be smart and be safe. My team and I will continue to work around the clock to protect the people of Michigan.”
“The data shows that these regions in Michigan are seeing consistent encouraging trends when it comes to the number of cases, deaths, and the percent of tests that are positive for COVID-19,” said MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “It’s important to note that these businesses must take special precautions to protect Michiganders. I also encourage everyone to continue to wear a mask in public, maintain a 6-foot distance from others, and to remain vigilant in washing their hands often. This will help prevent a second surge in cases in our state.”
All businesses that will reopen in regions 6 and 8 must adopt the safety measures outlined in Executive Order 2020-91. That means they must, among other things, provide COVID-19 training to workers that covers, at a minimum, workplace infection-control practices, the proper use of PPE, steps workers must take to notify the business or operation of any symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, and how to report unsafe working conditions. Restaurants and bars will also have to limit capacity to 50% of their normal seating, to keep groups at least six feet from one another, to require their servers to wear face coverings, and to follow rigorous disinfection protocols.
“We are thankful to Governor Whitmer as today marks an important first step of reintegrating restaurants into the fabric of our daily lives,” said Justin Winslow, President and CEO of the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association. “Restaurants in the U.P. and northern Michigan understand that with their opportunity comes an extraordinary responsibility to operate in a manner that ensures the safety of their guests and their employees. I believe they are up to the challenge.”
“Like Gov. Whitmer, Mayors in Michigan support the well-being of all our citizens,” said Traverse City Mayor Jim Carruthers. “All regions of Michigan have been affected by COVID-19, and Up North, we want to support the Governor by cautiously opening up some of our economy resources. However, in doing so, we must be mindful that wearing masks and continuing to practice social distancing is a must to make this work. Stopping the spread of this virus is still key and if we can’t, then we will have to close it down again.”
“I support the shift to making decisions on a regional level when possible,” said Marquette Mayor Jenna Smith. “As restrictions are slowly eased, it will be important for us to remain vigilant to stop the spread of the virus.”
Region 6 in the governor’s MI Safe Start Plan includes the following counties: Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Crawford, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Presque Isle, and Emmet. Region 8 in the governor’s MI Safe Start Plan includes the following counties: Gogebic, Ontonagon, Houghton, Keweenaw, Iron, Baraga, Dickinson, Marquette, Menominee, Delta, Alger, Schoolcraft, Luce, Mackinac, and Chippewa.
Click here to view Executive Order 2020-92 (PDF)
Updates from Western U.P. Health Department
- The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD) continues to investigate the recent COVID-19 case in a Gogebic County resident announced over the weekend. The elderly person has a recent travel history to an urban area in another state. WUPHD is currently interviewing the person and informing any close contacts about exposure risk.
“To date, all but one of our COVID-19 positive cases have been associated with interstate or international travel,” said Kate Beer, Health Officer at WUPHD. “I urge people to continue limiting travel, quarantine for 14 days if you do travel, and practice good hygiene by washing your hands, staying home if you are ill, and thoroughly cleaning commonly touched surfaces.”
- WUPHD worked with the State Emergency Operations Center and Michigan National Guard last week to test residents and staff at several area long-term care facilities and County jails. The effort produced 598 tests with no positive cases found. The agency does not include these results in its routine test reporting.
The health department is working through the new executive orders announced today that will allow a partial re-opening of the region and will share additional guidance as it becomes available.
- Michigan COVID-19 cases reach 51k, 1 new UP case in Gogebic County Sunday, via TV6
- Aspirus testing for COVID-19 antibodies, via Daily Mining Gazette
- 31 Backbacks Donations Benefit Copper Country ISD, via Keweenaw Report
- Aspirus begins testing for COVID-19 antibodies, via TV6
- 31 Backpacks and food bank feeding students, via Daily Mining Gazette
- WUPHD announces closure of COVID-19 call center, via Daily Mining Gazette
If you have an update you would like included in this daily brief, please contact the appropriate county or the health department. Contact information can be found at coppercountrystrong.com/contact.
An archive of updates can be found at coppercountrystrong.com. The community is invited to view that site and subscribe for email alerts when a new brief is posted. Links will also be shared on the Copper Country Strong Facebook and Twitter pages.