WSGW CORONAVIRUS INFORMATION
MDOT will not accept cash transactions for eastbound Blue Water Bridge customers through at least June 21
May 21, 2020 — In accordance with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ recommendations designed to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will not be accepting cash payment for any vehicles conducting essential travel via the eastbound Blue Water Bridge (BWB) to Canada. All commercial traffic will need to pay by prepaid commuter account cards or debit/credit forms of payment. MDOT encourages any commercial travelers who wish to apply for the prepaid commercial account to visit www.federalbridge.ca and complete the application.
The Federal Bridge Corporation Limited (FBCL) and the MDOT BWB operations suspended all private passenger vehicle cash transactions effective March 18 for their westbound BWB crossing. In order to continue to reduce the spread of COVID-19 disease, MDOT’s BWB added further restrictions on forms of payment and has not accepted cash payments for any toll crossing since March 26. Reducing person-to-person contact via cash exchange will help to reduce exposure to contagion.
In accordance with orders from the United States and Canadian federal authorities, temporary travel restrictions on all land ports of entry and ferries between the U.S. and Canada are expected to remain in effect through June 21.
Border protection agencies from both nations remain committed to supporting safe travel for essential customers and commercial truck traffic. The agencies and bridge administrations will follow all federal guidelines intended to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
A reminder, at this time U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has suspended normal operations at U.S.-Canada land ports of entry and is only processing travelers engaged in essential travel. The trade of legitimate goods has not been interrupted.
According to the CBP, some cases of essential travel include:
– U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the U.S.
– Those traveling for medical purposes.
– Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions.
– Individuals traveling to work in the U.S. (including those working in the farming or agriculture industries who must travel between the U.S. and Canada for work).
– Those traveling for emergency response and public health purposes.
– Individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade (such as truck drivers supporting the movement of cargo between the U.S. and Canada).
– Individuals engaged in official government travel or diplomatic travel.
– Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, their spouses or children returning to the U.S.
– Individuals engaged in military-related travel or operations.
Individuals traveling for tourism purposes like sightseeing, recreation, gambling, or attending cultural events are not considered essential travelers.
Detailed information on restrictions to entry into the U.S. is available from CBP here. Official guidance on restrictions to entry into Canada is still forthcoming and expected to be similar. For more information regarding the essential travel definitions or travel restrictions, contact the CBP or CBSA.
For current and up-to-date information regarding the coronavirus, visit http://www.Michigan.gov/
Blue Water Bridge continuing work to “flatten the curve” amid nationwide COVID-19 outbreak
Why is the Blue Water Bridge (BWB) eliminating all vehicles from cash payment amid the COVID-19 outbreak?
Reducing the exchange of cash may help to protect BWB toll operators as well as the customers they service. Paying with cash and requiring change being handed back to a customer creates additional contact points that are unnecessary as we work to practice social distancing.
What can customers do to reduce their risk while exchanging payment at a bridge crossing? In accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, customers are also encouraged to increase their hand washing and avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth. Additionally, we ask commuters to use hand sanitizer prior to providing their card to the toll collector for processing. It is also recommended to regularly clean the payment card to reduce contagion from spreading during exchange of card payment.
What can customers do if they reach the toll booth and do not have a credit/debit card? The move to eliminate cash is a precautionary measure to reduce person-to-person contact and is not intended to completely eliminate essential travel. However, customers who attempt to pay a toll with cash will be prohibited from using the eastbound BWB crossing.
Who can customers direct questions to? Questions can be directed to the BWB at 810-984-3131 or visit the BWB website at www.Michigan.gov/
Where can we find more information about the COVID-19 outbreak and managing the spread?
For current and up-to-date information regarding the coronavirus, visit http://www.Michigan.gov/
Bay County has partnered with the Bay County Chamber of Commerce and Bay Future, Inc. to launch ReopenBayCounty – a website geared directly to the business community full of resources for businesses to reopen and re-engage with the public.
“The information found on ReopenBayCounty will give businesses the tools to protect their staff and their customers as they reopen during this very difficult time. It is intended to assist the business leaders as they make important decisions regarding their business”, said County Executive Jim Barcia. “We find it imperative that our businesses here in Bay County have the best information available in an easy to navigate forum.” You can find this website at www.reopenbaycounty.com.
Friday, May 15, 2020 (Released by Bay Future)
MI Local Biz | COVID-19 Small Business Support Program New MI Local Biz program will allow Michigan-based small businesses to raise funds from their customers through donation-based crowdfunding model, win matching dollars through MEDC
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, in conjunction with the Detroitbased crowdfunding platform, Patronicity, has developed “MI Local Biz”, a creative funding mechanism to offer quick access to capital for small local businesses in this great time of need. The MEDC will match crowdfunding raises on a 1:1 basis up to $5,000 for eligible small businesses experiencing economic challenges as a result of COVID-19.
Pre-Check Applications Open Monday, May 18th at 8:00am est. Applicants will be accepted and reviewed for eligibility on a first come first serve basis until funding is allocated. Please review the Overview Document click here for full details on the rules & eligibility of the MI Local Biz program.
How it Works
The MI Local Biz program is a matching grant program that utilizes donation-based crowdfunding to generate public
interest, to raise funds to assist small businesses negatively affected by the COVID-19 crisis, and help position that
business for re-opening as the crisis eases. By utilizing web-based donations, businesses are accessible to anyone willing
to make a donation in real time. This crowdgranting model engages the public as each person contributes in the effort to
assist their local businesses. In addition, this model instills community pride as residents become a conduit of support
for their local economy.
“It’s critical that we are able to support small businesses in our community through the COVID-19 pandemic.
They are a large part of what makes Bay City unique and are vital to both our local economy and quality of life,” Dana Muscott, City of Bay City Manager.
What businesses are eligible?
Businesses eligible to receive the MEDC match of local donations associated with the crowdfunding campaign must
meet all of the qualifications below:
1. A Michigan-based small business operating in state that has been directly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
2. The business retails products and or services face-to-face within the state of Michigan. Examples Include:
o Restaurants / Bars / Coffee Shops
o Salons / Day Spas
o Retail Shops
o Hardware Stores
o Any other small business retailing products or services face-to-face within the state of Michigan
3. The business has 25 employees or less
4. The business is able to demonstrate an income loss as a result of the COVID-19 crisis
5. Businesses with multiple locations are only eligible to undergo one crowdfunding campaign. That campaign is
limited to the $5000 matching grant maximum.
While all businesses meeting the above criteria are eligible, priority will be given to businesses meeting two or more
of the following location-based criteria:
• Located in Geographically Disadvantaged Areas
• Engaged or Certified Redevelopment Ready Community *Bay City and Auburn are eligible cities
• Traditional Downtowns or Neighborhood Commercial Districts
For more information visit: https://www.patronicity.com/milocalbiz
State Supports $1.5 Million Fund to Help Small
Businesses Recover, Pivot in Response to COVID-19
LANSING, MICH. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) has partnered with Michigan Women Forward in announcing the creation of the $1.5 million Michigan Entrepreneur Resilience Fund to help entrepreneurs and small businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19 recover from the outbreak, as well as assist them in meeting increased demands in support of COVID-19 response efforts.
“As Michigan begins to focus on economic recovery efforts across the state, it is critical that we make sure support and relief are accessible for all entrepreneurs and small businesses in need,” said LeTasha Peebles, grant manager for the MEDC. “We’re grateful for the partnership of Michigan Women Forward in supporting this fund, which will play a key role in ensuring every member of our state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem has the tools and support they need to recover from this crisis.”
The Michigan Entrepreneur Resilience Fund will provide recovery grants of $1,000-$5,000 and microloans of $5,000-$10,000 to small businesses who are in need and have been adversely affected by COVID-19 closures, with at least 150 businesses statewide expected to benefit. Small businesses interested in applying for support through the Michigan Entrepreneur Resilience Fund can do so now by visiting miwf.org/mwf-entrepreneur-
“This fund will be vital in helping small businesses throughout Michigan keep their doors open and their workers paid, while offering much-needed economic support during this unprecedented outbreak,” said Maggie McCammon, portfolio manager for the MEDC. “Michigan Women Forward has a demonstrated track record of successfully providing holistic support for small businesses across the state and MEDC looks forward to working together with them and the other supporting partners as our state moves toward recovery.”
“At Michigan Woman Forward, we are dedicating ourselves to doing everything we possibly can to help Michigan’s small businesses re-open and recover from this crisis,” said Carolyn Cassin, president and CEO, MWF. “Funding is just the beginning. We will also pair our entrepreneurs with experts to help answer questions and guide their decision making at this critical time.”
Funds awarded through the program can be used to support small businesses in managing expenses through the recovery phase, including rent, payroll, and inventory, due to the significant economic impacts of COVID-19. The fund can also advance business growth by providing working capital to assist with increased product or service demand in response to COVID-19, to allow a company to revamp their business virtually through a strengthened online presence, or to start up a company to meet a new demand as a result of COVID-19.
The $1.5 million fund includes support of $500,000 from MEDC and $500,000 from Michigan Women Forward’s SBA microlending funds, along with partners including Consumers Energy Foundation, the New Economy Initiative, General Motors Corporation, Fifth Third Bank and Comerica Bank. Michigan Women Forward is also working with other potential funding partners to provide additional opportunities for grants and loans through the Michigan Entrepreneur Resilience Fund.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and have been significantly impacted during this unprecedented time,” said Brandon Hofmeister, president of the Consumers Energy Foundation. “Consumers Energy is committed to helping Michigan’s small business community succeed now, more than ever. We are making an investment in our communities, business owners, workers and their families, and a commitment to help power through together.”
Applicants will be evaluated on a rolling basis until funds are exhausted. Eligible candidates will be prioritized based on demonstrated need, including, but not limited to:
- Being located in a disadvantaged area within a U.S. Small Business Administration designated HubZone or Opportunity Zone;
- Demonstrating status as a low- to moderate-income borrower;
- And qualifying as a diverse business that can demonstrate ownership by underrepresented groups including, but not limited to, veterans, minorities and low-income men and women.
Other resources for businesses across Michigan to assist them in recovering from economic losses as a result of the COVID-19 virus can be found online at michiganbusiness.org/
Governor Whitmer Details Six Phases of Her MI Safe Start Plan
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 7, 2020
Media Contact: [email protected]
Governor Whitmer Details Six Phases of Her MI Safe Start Plan
Governor Announces Michigan is in Phase Three
LANSING, Mich. — Today, after announcing that Michigan’s manufacturing workers will return to work on Monday, May 11, Governor Gretchen Whitmer detailed the six phases of herMI Safe Start Plan to re-engageMichigan’s economy.The governor has worked with leaders in health care, business, labor, and education to develop the plan, and announced today that Michigan is in phase three.
The phases of the pandemic include:
1) UNCONTROLLED GROWTH: The increasing number of new cases every day, overwhelming our health systems.
2) PERSISTENT SPREAD: We continue to see high case levels with concern about health system capacity.
3) FLATTENING: The epidemic is no longer increasing and the health-system’s capacity is sufficient for current needs.
4) IMPROVING: Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are clearly declining.
5) CONTAINING:Continued case and death rate improvements, with outbreaks quickly contained.
6) POST-PANDEMIC: Community spread not expected to return.
“I am working closely with health care experts and epidemiologists to closely monitor Michigan’s progress in the fight against COVID-19,” said Governor Whitmer. “As we move forward with the MI Safe Start Plan, I am working closely with partners in business, labor, and education to determine the best way to move forward each day. All of us know the importance of getting people back to work and the economy moving again. We’ve already reopened lower-risk sectors like construction, manufacturing, and lawn care.
“The worst thing we can do is open up in a way that causes a second wave of infections and death, puts health care workers at further risk, and wipes out all the progress we’ve made. That’s why we will continue to monitor the spread of this virus, hospital capacity, testing rates, and more as we work toward reaching the ‘improving’ phase.”
Click the link below for the governor’s full MI Safe Start Plan:
SAGINAW COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND SAGINAW FUTURE RECEIVE CONSUMERS ENERGY FOUNDATION GRANT
$200,000 to Support Saginaw County Small Businesses
Saginaw, Mich., part of the Great Lakes Bay Region, May 6, 2020 The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce and Saginaw Future Inc.(SFI) are excited to announce the Consumers Energy Foundation will contribute $200,000 to assist Saginaw County small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19. Grants between $1,000 and $2,000 will be made to as many qualifying businesses as possible.
“The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Saginaw Future Inc. to help provide vital financial aid to Saginaw County’s small businesses. The additional support provided by the Consumers Energy Foundation is an inspirational example of how the Saginaw community has always rallied during difficult times to support each other,” said Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce President Veronica Horn. “We are happy to be able to continue funding some additional grant applications from the previous process because of the very generous contributions of the Consumers Energy Foundation.”
In mid-March, the Michigan Strategic Fund approved the Michigan Small Business Relief Program and 125 Saginaw County small businesses received grants. The Saginaw Community Foundation and Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) have also provided loans to a group of small businesses, leaving approximately 550 applicants. These applicant scores will be reviewed and targeted for the Consumers Energy Foundation funds.
“Saginaw Future was honored to help the MEDC with the Michigan Small Business Relief program process, which provided 125 small businesses in Saginaw County with an average grant of $1,600 per business,” said Saginaw Future Inc. President JoAnn Crary. “We are grateful to the Consumers Energy Foundation, which will enable us to provide funds to grant applicants from that process. SFI will continue to serve the business and economic development of Saginaw County through innovative partnerships, access to information, reopening strategies and support programs designed to help the community and region through this pandemic and beyond.”
In total, the Consumers Energy Foundation is donating $1.8 million to nine organizations to provide a lifeline to small businesses across Michigan – focusing in particular on helping female- and minority-owned businesses. In all, the Foundation has given over $3 million to meet the needs of Michigan residents affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and have been significantly impacted during this unprecedented time,” said Brandon Hofmeister, president of the Consumers Energy Foundation. “Consumers Energy is committed to helping Michigan’s small business community succeed now, more than ever. We are making an investment in our communities, business owners, workers and their families, and a commitment to help power through together.”
The Consumers Energy Foundation’s contribution is part of an effort to help small business customers in this time of need. Consumers Energy is promoting a hotline, 800-805-0490, and www.ConsumersEnergy.com/smallbusinessrelief to provide meaningful
and immediate help.
# # #
The Consumers Energy Foundation is the charitable arm of Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider. The Consumers Energy Foundation enables communities to thrive and grow by investing in what’s most important to Michigan – its people, our planet and Michigan’s prosperity. For more information about the Consumers Energy Foundation, visit www.ConsumersEnergy.com/foundation.
The mission and vision of the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce is to be the recognized leader for business in the region and communicate, connect and influence on behalf of our almost 1,000 members. Visit us at www.SaginawChamber.org . For COVID-19 resources, go to https://www.saginawchamber.org/coronavirus-resources.html
Established in 1992, Saginaw Future Inc. (SFI) is a public-private alliance of local businesses, the County of Saginaw, City of Saginaw, 16 local municipalities and the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce. SFI’s strategic partners also include education, labor and government. Since its beginning, SFI has remained dedicated to fostering quality job creation through expansion of local industry and attraction of
new business projects to the community. www.SaginawFuture.com
Governor Whitmer Extends Executive Order Limiting Places of Public Accommodation During the COVID-19 Pandemic
LANSING, Mich. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer today signed Executive Order 2020-69 which extends her previous order that temporarily closes certain places of public accommodation such as theaters, bars, casinos, and more. In order to maintain social distancing the order also limits restaurants to carry-out and delivery orders.
“Although we are beginning to see the curve flatten, we are not out of the woods yet. We must all continue to be diligent, observe social distancing and limit in-person interactions and services to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Whitmer. “Michigan now has more than 40,000 cases of COVID-19. The virus has killed more Michiganders than we lost during the Vietnam war. Extending this order is vital to the health and safety of every Michigander. If we work together and do our part, we can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.”
This order does not restrict a place of business from offering food and beverage using delivery service, window service, walk-up service, drive-through service, or drive-up service. Places of public accommodation are encouraged to offer food and beverage service in one or more of those ways and use precautions to mitigate potential transmission of COVID-19, including social distancing and wearing as face covering. Restaurants may allow five people inside at a time to pick up orders, so long as they stay six feet apart from each other.
These restrictions do not apply to the following locations: office buildings, grocery stores, markets, food pantries, pharmacies, drug stores, and providers of medical equipment and supplies, health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, and juvenile justice facilities, warehouse and distribution centers, and industrial and manufacturing facilities.
Executive Order 2020-69 is effective immediately and extends until May 28, 2020. To view the order click the link below.
to Answer Common COVID-19 Questions
LANSING, MICH. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has launched Robin, a new automated online assistant that can help Michiganders easily access the latest and most trusted information about the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly and there’s a great deal of misinformation online,” said Robert Gordon, MDHHS director. “Robin, our new chatbot, is an easy, interactive way for Michiganders to get their question answered without frustrating wait times. Every moment counts in our fight to increase awareness and education and slow the spread of the virus.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted normal operations for many State of Michigan resources. Robin will provide a centralized, first line of response to common inquiries. This will help reduce confusion and frustration, and make it easier to find answers.
The online assistant will also help to reduce calls to the COVID-19 hotline, which means decreased wait times for those who have more complicated questions and need to speak to a staff person. Since March 14, the COVID-19 hotline team has answered more than 26,000 calls.
How does Robin work?
Developed by IBM, the chatbot interprets user questions and directs the flow of the conversation by providing the most likely and informed response. Robin searches for the information it needs to respond to questions based on the rich database it is built upon. It can also help identify gaps in service and information to more efficiently address needed resources.
For any questions that cannot be answered, Robin will direct users to email [email protected] or call the COVID-19 hotline at 888-535-6136, which is available seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Public health and other experts answer health-related questions about COVID-19, and can also direct residents, providers and others to resources in their local communities.
Note that Robin and call center staff cannot provide individual clinical advice or a diagnosis. If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19 and are symptomatic, call your health care provider. If you do not have a health care provider, call the nearest urgent care center and ask about COVID-19 testing. Those who are experiencing mild symptoms and believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 can be tested.
Leaders Urge Michiganders Struggling Financially to be Proactive, Seek Help with Utility Bills as State, Energy Providers Offer Assistance
LANSING, MICH. State officials today urged Michiganders to be proactive if they’re struggling to pay their utility bills by reaching out to their energy providers and seeking financial assistance if they’ve lost a job or their income has dropped amid the coronavirus pandemic.
State leaders encourage anyone facing financial distress because of COVID-19 to:
- Contact your utility or propane supplier to ask what kind of protections, funding, flexible payment options, or energy saving tools and resources are available.
- Call 211 or go to mi211.orgfor information about getting help paying your utility bill or how to contact agencies that may assist you with your energy bill.
- Apply for State Emergency Relief (SER) directly through MI Bridges for bill payment assistance or call 855-275-6424. You can also get assistance with the applications process by calling 211 to be referred to a Michigan Energy Assistance Program grantee that can help.
- Apply for a Home Heating Credit. Visit theMichigan Department of Treasury’s website to see if you qualify. Even though this funding is distributed by the Department of Treasury, you do not need to pay taxes or wait for a tax return to receive this credit, so apply now if you are eligible. For more information, read the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) Home Heating Credit consumer tip.
Utilities across the state have agreed to pause service disconnections low-income and senior customers through June 1, 2020, while many businesses are closed and residents are under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s extended Stay Home, Stay Safe order.
“Nobody should have to worry about how they’re going to pay their utility bills during a crisis,” Governor Whitmer said. “My administration is committed to ensuring Michigan families have the support they need during this time. I urge everyone who is struggling to pay their bills to reach out for help. We will get through this together.”
The MPSC on April 15 issued an order directing regulated electric and natural gas utilities to file affirmations that certain minimum customer protections were in place:
- Suspending disconnections for Michigan’s most vulnerable populations, low-income and senior customers, through June 1, and waiving late fees for eligible low-income customers receiving energy assistance.
- Allowing for customers exposed to, infected by or quarantined because of COVID-19 to be eligible for a 30-day medical hold to avoid a disconnection of service.
- Waiving deposits and reconnection fees for low-income customers, seniors and customers experiencing financial hardship related to COVID-19 and seeking restoration of electric or gas service.
- Extending access to and availability of flexible payment plans to customers financially impacted by COVID-19, and providing customer assistance personnel with the resources necessary to connect customers to available financial assistance and social service agencies.
As of April 28, all investor-owned utilities and all but one rural electric cooperative had filed statements affirming protections. Midwest Energy and Communications had not filed an affirmation, but the MPSC understands it has adopted customer protections.
The MPSC’s regulatory jurisdiction does not include municipally owned utilities, but Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel noted that municipal utilities in Michigan have agreed to extended customer protections and assistance and have been coordinating closely with the MPSC on these and other issues during the COVID-19 emergency.
“Municipal utilities have stepped up to make sure their customers are protected during this public health emergency and I am grateful for their efforts,” Nessel said. “These entities are offering assistance to their fellow Michiganders during a challenging time, and as our state works through this crisis each day, it is becoming stronger and more united through collaborative, commonsense efforts like these.”
MPSC Chairman Sally Talberg noted customers need to notify their utilities of financial difficulties or seek out assistance directly through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), 211 or social service agencies. The MPSC is partnering with utilities and social service agencies on an outreach campaign including public service announcements, bill inserts, and other efforts to spread the word about resources available for those in need.
“Financial assistance is available for those struggling, and it is important that customers not wait to seek out help with paying their utility bills,” Talberg said. “
“You can get help based on what you’re earning now, so you may be eligible if you recently lost your job or were furloughed,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “We are doing all we can to help Michiganders through the extraordinary challenges of this time.”
The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency Continues to Serve Veterans Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
LANSING, MICH. The Director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) wants Michigan’s 600,000 veterans to know the MVAA continues to connect veterans and their loved ones to the benefits they have earned through their service.
“While these might be trying times, the MVAA is focused on serving as the central coordinating agency to local, state and federal veteran benefits, and connecting those benefits to our deserving veterans,” said Zaneta Adams, Army veteran and Director of the MVAA. “We will continue to conduct our outreach efforts while practicing the social distancing guidelines ordered by the Governor.”
Key to the MVAA’s outreach efforts is the Michigan Veteran Resource Service Center (MVRSC) at 1-800-MICH-VET. This 24-hour call center is staffed by trained technicians who are knowledgeable in all areas concerning veteran benefits and resources. Veterans can call to request copies of their discharge documents, inquire about available benefits including medical, compensation and pension, or to be connected to a VA-certified Veteran Service Officers who can walk them through the claims process.
“I was absolutely down and out,” said 54-year-old Army veteran Richard Brooks of Lansing. “My place burned down last year, to the ground. I had to start completely over at 53.” Brooks described how depression and lack of income after a serious injury led him to call the MVRSC to see if they could help. The MVAA coordinated efforts with local Veteran Service Officers and soon the American Legion showed up at Brooks’ house with a badly needed care package containing food and household products.
“It was phenomenal,” Brooks said. “If it wasn’t for what they did that day to help me, I don’t know if I would’ve made it.”
These types of calls are common and the MVAA aims to offer multiple solutions depending on the veteran’s circumstances. The Michigan Veterans Trust Fund (MVTF) is one solution designed for war-time era veterans experiencing unforeseen financial hardship. Together with the MVTF Board of Trustees and local committees, the MVAA oversees this emergency grant program to assist qualifying veterans.
“The MVTF continues to fully operate and take emergency grant applications, even with the state lockdown,” said Lindell Holm, Director of the MVTF and Marine Corps veteran. “If a county can’t take a veterans application then that veteran should call us at 1-800-MICH-VET so our staff can assist you.”
Andrew Sicotte, a 36-year-old veteran of the Michigan Army National Guard, was curious about the benefits he may have earned by serving in Iraq. A mechanic by trade, Sicotte took advantage of one of the MVAA’s newest initiatives, the “Check on MIVet” program.
“I heard about the program while at the VA hospital,” said Sicotte, a Negaunee native. “I served eight years in the Guard. I didn’t know what benefits were still available to me, so I signed up for a check-in. The MVAA got back to me the next day and put me in contact with a local Veteran Service Officer.”
Check on MIVet aims to reach veterans who request or who could benefit from a “check-in.” Launched in April 2020, the program works to ensure veterans receive the employment, education, healthcare and quality of life benefits and resources they deserve. Check on MIVet is not a mental health line or a “wellness” check; veterans experiencing a crisis should call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255.
Another new initiative is the MVAA’s series of virtual Coffee Hours that focus on veteran specific news and information. Past guests have included Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, the Adjutant General of the Michigan National Guard, Congressman Fred Upton from Michigan’s 6th Congressional District, and Stephanie Price, Deputy Director of Operations for the VA Education Service. Virtual topics have included the Michigan National Guard response to the COVID-19 pandemic, issues confronting student veterans, and the impact of Coronavirus on Tribal veterans.
“The MVAA is upholding its commitment to provide exceptional service to Michigan’s veteran population and their families, who have stepped up to serve our nation,” said Rogers. “If there are barriers veterans face in employment, education, health care, and quality of life, the MVAA is that partner whom veterans can trust to be part of the solution.”
The MVAA’s advocacy for Michigan’s veterans also has a national impact. Adams made recommendations to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Legislature that helped mold the Student Veteran Coronavirus Response Act of 2020. Many student veterans were impacted by college and university emergency closures, and this bill ensures that educational assistance and housing allowances continue until the pandemic is under control.
Additional federal impact came soon after the MVAA pointed out incomplete reporting of the numbers of veterans diagnosed with COVID-19 on a state and national basis. Soon after the MVAA’s input, an entirely new web-based reporting system was launched by the VA which includes details on veteran diagnosis down to county level.
State Treasury Serving Taxpayers
During COVID-19 Pandemic
Self-Service Options Available 24 Hours a Day, Seven Days a Week
LANSING, MICH. The Michigan Department of Treasury continues to serve Michigan taxpayers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently, taxpayers can file tax returns, receive refunds, make payments and ask questions through a variety of options. In addition, the state Treasury Department’s self-service online platforms are fully operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Through these uncertain times, the Michigan Department of Treasury is ready to assist and serve taxpayers,” State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks said. “Please reach out to us if you need assistance.”
Individual Income Taxes
Although both federal and state income tax returns and payments are not due until July, taxpayers are encouraged to file when they are able, as state Treasury Department is continuously accepting and processing returns. Taxpayers who are owed a refund should file their returns immediately in order to receive that payment.
Choosing electronic filing and direct deposit is convenient, safe and secure. Last year, more than 4.3 million Michigan taxpayers e-filed, which is 80% of state income tax filers. More information about e-filing is available at www.michigan.gov/mifastfile
Online services – including the ability to check the status of a refund and ask questions – are available through the Treasury Self-Service website.
Certain business taxpayers scheduled to make sales, use and withholding tax payments for March and April or for the first quarter of 2020 can postpone filing and payment requirements until May 20, 2020. The state Treasury Department will waive all penalties and interest.
Business taxpayers are encouraged to file sales, use and withholding tax returns and pay taxes owed as of the original due date if able to do so.
Businesses with questions about their taxes should inquire through self-service options using Michigan Treasury Online.
Operational Call Centers
The vast majority of state Treasury Department call centers are operational and providing assistance during normal business hours, including:
- Local Government – Essential Service Assessments
- Local Government – Principle Residence Exemption
- Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning – Michigan Education Trust
- Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning – Student Scholarships and Grants
- Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning – Student Loan Programs
- Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning – Michigan Guaranty Agency
- Collections – Collections Information Services Unit (CISU)
- Collections – Interface
- Tax Compliance Bureau – Discovery and Tax Enforcement
- Special Taxes – Tobacco
- Special Taxes – Miscellaneous Tax
- Special Taxes – International Fuel Tax Agreement
- Special Taxes – Motor Fuel
- City Taxes
Updated information regarding COVID-19 impacts on taxpayers and services can be found on the state Treasury Department’s website.
State Treasury Providing Student Loan
Assistance During COVID-19 Pandemic
Collection Activities on Delinquent Loans Halted Until
Sept. 30, 2020
LANSING, MICH. The Michigan Department of Treasury today announced Michiganders who have student loans guaranteed by the state will be provided assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Collection activities on delinquent Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) student loans, made by a financial institution and serviced by the Michigan Guaranty Agency, will be halted until Sept. 30, 2020.
“College students should not have to worry about defaulting on their monthly loan payments during the continuing, unprecedented public health crisis,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. “This program will help alleviate a tremendous amount of stress from students with financial hardships as they determine the next steps in completing their education and competing for jobs in the 21st century workforce.”
The state Treasury Department has stopped all wage garnishments and offsets to pay outstanding FFELP student loans serviced by the Michigan Guaranty Agency. Borrowers who are currently in repayment agreements will not be penalized if a payment is missed through Sept. 30, 2020.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is both a public health emergency and an economic emergency,” State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks said. “If you are encountering financial hardship and cannot pay your state-backed student loans, please contact us so we can walk through your options for assistance.”
Individuals who have FFELP loans serviced by the Michigan Guaranty Agency and are encountering repayment issues are encouraged to call 1-800-642-5626. Service representatives can discuss payment options with borrowers.
Some FFELP loans were made by private lenders, and guaranty agencies insured these funds. Since 2010, no new FFELP loans have been issued by the federal government.
To learn more about state student finance programs, go to www.michigan.gov/mistudentaid. More information about the Michigan Guaranty Agency is available at www.michigan.gov/mgaloan.
The following information is from the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce and Saginaw Future Inc.. It includes resources for businesses on reopening , following Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s lifting of some COVID-19 restrictions on 4/24/20:
April 24, 2020 — Governor Gretchen Whitmer has begun lifting COVID-19 restrictions on some businesses, which can begin reopening.
Landscapers, lawn-service companies, plant nurseries and bike repair shops can resume operating, subject to social-distancing
rules. Stores selling nonessential supplies can reopen for curbside pickup and delivery. Big-box retailers no longer have to
close off garden centers and areas dedicated to selling paint, flooring and carpet.
The most important goal for Saginaw County and Michigan is to stop the spread of Covid-19. As Michigan develops and
implements appropriate policies, in accordance with federal, state and local regulations, the Saginaw County Chamber of
Commerce and Saginaw Future Inc. have researched re-opening plans and playbooks for our businesses to begin to prepare
Businesses can visit https://saginawfuture.com/covid to find re-opening playbooks for various industries and other related
materials to help prepare them to reopen. Please keep in mind that considerations for gradually reopening the economy must take into account hospital capacity, availability of personal protection equipment and testing kits. A sustained reduction in Covid-19 cases is the most important measure.
Important resources and guidance will come from MIOSA: https://www.michigan.gov/leo/0,5863,7-336-78421_11407—,00.html
U.S. OSHA: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/standards.html
Centers for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/businesses-employers.html,
and U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cyber Infrastructure: https://www.cisa.gov/.
Governor Whitmer’s order continues to prohibit in-person work that is not necessary to sustain or protect life, with exemptions for various critical jobs. Restaurants remain closed to dine-in customers under a separate measure, and bars, movie theaters, gyms and other sports facilities are still shuttered.
Click for Link to the DNR “Frequently Asked Questions” Regarding Coronavirus/Covid-19
Self-Employed, Other Newly Eligible Workers Can Apply for Unemployment on Monday, $600 Federal Payments Also Begin
Michigan’s self-employed workers, gig workers, 1099-independent contractors and low-wage workers affected by COVID-19 can apply for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) beginning Monday, April 13 at 8 a.m. Under the federal CARES Act, workers on state unemployment have already begun receiving the set $600 federal weekly payment in addition to their state benefit amount. Michigan is one of the first states to begin sending the $600 payment.
“Ensuring Michiganders have access to state and federal benefits during this pandemic is a critical part in protecting everyone’s health and safety,” Governor Whitmer said. “We will do everything we can to continue providing emergency financial assistance as quickly as possible to the Michigan working families who have lost income as a result of COVID-19.”
Newly eligible workers who have yet to apply for unemployment benefits
Self-employed workers, gig workers, 1099-independent contractors and low-wage workers can apply for federal benefits beginning Monday, April 13 at 8AM online at Michigan.gov/UIA. Online is the fastest and easiest way to access these benefits. Workers need to use the UIA’s daily filing schedule based on their last names which can be found below. For example, last names beginning with letters A-L should start filing claims Monday.
Newly eligible workers who have been previously denied benefits
Self-employed workers, gig workers, 1099-independent contractors and low-wage workers who have previously applied for unemployment benefits and have been denied should login to their MiWAM account to complete the next steps for PUA federal benefits. These steps will also be emailed to workers. They should not file a new claim, as that may delay the time it takes to get their benefits.
All newly eligible workers will need to provide proof of income to receive the maximum amount they are entitled. This could include W-2s, 1099 tax forms, and pay stubs. These workers will begin receiving federal benefits as early as April 20 after their bi-weekly certification. Individuals on paid sick leave or other paid leave – and those who have the ability to telework with pay – are not eligible for PUA.
“We’re committed to making sure everyone who is eligible for unemployment assistance receives their benefits as quickly as possible,” Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity Director Jeff Donofrio said. “Michigan is one of the first states to begin sending the additional $600 benefit to workers and our dedicated Unemployment Insurance Agency team is working tirelessly to provide emergency benefits during this crisis.”
$600 federal payments for workers already receiving state benefits
Workers already collecting state unemployment benefits have begun receiving the $600 federal set amount in addition to up to $362 they were previously eligible for. These payments are disbursed at the same time as their state benefits through direct deposit or debit card after their bi-weekly certification.
$600 federal payments for newly eligible workers
Eligible self-employed workers, gig workers, 1099-independent contractors, and low-wage workers will begin receiving their state benefit amount (paid with federal funds) and the $600 federal payment as early as April 20.
All eligible workers will receive benefits
The UIA assures every eligible worker in Michigan who applies for unemployment benefits that they will receive them. The UIA will be accepting claims and benefit applications back-dated to reflect the date on which the claimant was laid-off due to COVID-19, beyond the previously established 28-day period ($600 federal payment is only retroactive back to March 28).
The latest U.S. Dept of Labor report shows that since March 15, more than 800,000 Michigan workers filed for unemployment, a more than 5,000 percent increase over a three-week period. Michigan has seen a record number of claims for three consecutive weeks.
Online filing schedule at Michigan.gov/UIA
Customers are encouraged to use off-peak times 8 p.m. – 8 a.m. Earlier today, the UIA announced new resources to help workers resolve online technical issues with their account.
- Last names beginning with letters A-L: file claims on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays.
- Last names beginning with letters M-Z: file claims on Sundays, Tuesdays, or Thursdays.
- Saturdays will be available for anyone to accommodate those who could not file during their allotted window.
Michigan is First State to Provide Food to Families
Affected by School Closings Caused by COVID-19
Families with children who received free, reduced-cost
lunches at school qualify for new program
LANSING, MICH. Michigan has become the first state in the country to gain federal approval of a program that will provide nutritious food to children who were affected by school closings due to COVID-19.
The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program (P-EBT) provides temporary funding to address emergency food needs and avert financial hardship for families affected by the pandemic.
The food assistance benefits will go to Michigan families with students ages 5-18 who are enrolled in the Michigan Department of Education program for students eligible for free or reduced-price school meals and will reach approximately 895,000 students. This includes families currently receiving Food Assistance Program benefits as well as those not currently enrolled in the program.
These additional benefits will fortify and supplement the important efforts that local school districts will continue to put forth, providing nutritious school meals to children at over 2,000 stationary locations and nearly 700 mobile sites throughout Michigan.
“I am proud that Michigan is the first state to receive federal approval for this program to put healthy food on the table for families that need them,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “The spread of COVID-19 has had a profound impact on our state. My administration will continue to work around the clock to help Michiganders through this difficult time and slow the spread of this virus.”
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) received authorization from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Services to provide the additional food assistance.
“Children should never go hungry. Yet because of COVID-19, it is a risk unlike at any time in generations,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “I am glad that Michigan will be the first state to deliver SNAP benefits to families that previously received free or reduced-price lunches, whether or not they were SNAP-eligible. In a time of terrible need, it will be a small, good thing for nearly a million Michigan children.”
Families not currently receiving food assistance benefits will receive an EBT card.
Eligible families not currently receiving food assistance benefits will receive in the mail a pre-loaded Electronic Benefits Transaction (EBT) card – known as a Bridge Card – issued under the name of the oldest student in the household.
The amount of EBT benefits will be no less than the total amount of free or reduced-cost school lunch benefits that the family would have received during the time that school is closed. The benefits will include $193.80 per eligible student to cover the months of March and April and an additional $182.40 per student to cover May and June combined.
Benefits for all eligible school-aged children in the home will be loaded onto this one EBT card. Prior to receiving the card, families will get a letter from MDHHS describing how to use their EBT card, how to set up their PIN, and other pertinent information about food assistance benefits. EBT cards can be used much like a debit card for food items only purchased in-person at SNAP retailers
Families who are not already receiving food assistance benefits should start receiving MDHHS notices in the mail late next week, with the EBT cards arriving by the first week of May.
Families currently receiving food assistance benefits will receive additional benefits on their EBT Bridge Cards.
Eligible families currently receiving food assistance benefits will be issued a supplement to their existing benefits. Supplemental benefits can be used as families would typically use their EBT card. Families who already receive food assistance benefits should begin receiving their additional benefits next week – with the payments being staggered over a 10-day period.
Families can use their pre-loaded EBT cards at any retailer that accepts Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) EBT benefits. You can find a list of SNAP retailers on the SNAP Retailers website.
Information around coronavirus outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.
Michigan Launches History Collecting Initiative to Capture COVID-19 Experiences for Future Generations
LANSING, MICH. The Michigan History Center today announced a new collecting initiative that gives residents the opportunity to share stories that reflect their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, for the benefit of future generations. The COVID-19 pandemic is a critical moment in history, and the Michigan History Center is committed to documenting – through objects, archival materials, stories and experiences from diverse Michiganders – how the coronavirus is affecting Michigan residents in the workplace, at home, in communities and in many other settings.
The first phase of the three-phase collecting initiative is active right now. It offers a web-based platform for people to share and donate photos, videos and audio files that document their daily lives during this emergency – all of which will be considered for preservation in the Archives of Michigan’s collections. The following questions can provide a starting point in choosing what to share:
- How are you communicating with family, friends and colleagues?
- Have certain places become more important to you?
- What is something that has brought you unexpected joy?
- What steps have you taken to protect your health and the health of others?
“Archives and museums preserve and share the real stuff of the past, but we also have an obligation to collect and preserve the documents, images and objects that will help future residents understand our present,” said Sandra Clark, Michigan History Center director.
“There is no question that the coronavirus emergency that is so deeply affecting all our lives is a significant history-making time. That’s why the Michigan History Center is launching this collecting project now,” Clark said. “We hope, too, that the shared experiences will strengthen our state’s sense of community and reduce feelings of isolation.”
Phase 2: 3D objects
The second phase is collecting three-dimensional objects and documents related to the coronavirus emergency for the Michigan History Museum system’s collections. In keeping with the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order, this phase will begin with a call to the public to help identify items and move to physically gathering them once it is safe to do so.
Phase 3: Interviews and stories
The third phase involves long-term collecting of stories, through oral history and StoryCorps interviews, memoirs and other materials that are created during the reflection period after an immediate crisis. These materials will be preserved in both the museum and archival collections.
Michigan residents can learn more about the initiative at Michigan.gov/MHCStories.
The Michigan History Center, part of the Department of Natural Resources, fosters curiosity, enjoyment and inspiration rooted in Michigan’s stories. Its 12 museums and historic sites and the Archives of Michigan provide opportunities for Michiganders to actively learn about and research their heritage and the history of Michigan through exhibits, special events, online resources and diverse programming. We base these experiences on Michigan’s museum and archival collections, which document the history of the state and its diverse peoples. We actively collect around Michigan’s continuing stories.
Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.
Click Here for Secretary of State Information and Service
Consumers Energy help for residents and small businesses
Small Businesses: 800-805-0490
of changes to recycling and waste collection in an abundance of caution of the COVID-19 virus.
Please changes listed below:
a. Effective April 1, 2020, all bulk collection services (which is
anything not contained in a bag or a can) will be SUSPENDED
until further notice
b. All Recycling will be SUSPENDED until the week of April 13
c. Spring yard waste collection will be DELAYED until the week of
Trash collection, which is an essential service, is continuing as usual.
Young People’s Concert: Link Up: The Orchestra Rocks; May 8, 2020
Symphonie Fantastique: May 9, 2020
A letter will be mailed regarding options for both Season and single ticket patrons.
DIFS’ Call Center Working Remotely to Assist Consumers with Insurance And Financial Services Questions And Complaints
LANSING, MICH. The Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) announced that its call center continues regular operations and remains prepared to assist Michigan consumers with their insurance and financial services concerns, especially those individuals impacted by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The call center consists of representatives that can assist with insurance, banking, credit union, mortgage and other consumer financial concerns. The Office of Consumer Services also has analysts available to review complaints against insurance or financial service entities. DIFS encourages consumers to first attempt to resolve disputes directly with their insurance and/or financial service provider. If a resolution cannot be reached, DIFS Office of Consumer Services can help try to resolve your dispute. The live call center can be reached by calling toll-free at 877-999-6442, and is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
“Michigan consumers will not see a change in the way they obtain help from DIFS as we work remotely,” added Fox. “DIFS live call center team will continue to answer phones and address their needs.”
DIFS stands ready to assist with:
- Questions about health insurance coverage for COVID-19 treatment or testing.
- Concerns about access to telemedicine.
- Questions about the servicing of loans or mortgages.
- Questions about banks or credit unions and the availability of financial services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Insurance agent or consumer finance licensing questions.
- Questions about insurance policies, grace periods, and premium payment extensions in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Appealing an adverse decision regarding a health care claim under the Patient’s Right to Independent Review Act (PRIRA).
For more information visit: www.michigan.gov/difs, call toll free at 877-999-6442 or email [email protected].
Pure Michigan Business Connect Offering Grants to Manufacturers Looking to Retool and Produce Critical Health and Human Service Supplies
LANSING, Mich. –The Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Pure Michigan Business Connect program has launched a new grant program providing a total of $1 million in grants to Michigan’s small manufacturers looking to retool and produce critical health and human service supplies in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The PMBC COVID-19 Emergency Access and Retooling Grants program will award grants of $10,000 to $150,000 to companies that can quickly and effectively manufacture critical health and human service supplies. Michigan small businesses (per SBA size standards) and established nonprofits are eligible to apply. Businesses can use the funds to support the purchase of equipment necessary to manufacture critical supplies, logistics and shipping costs of procuring necessary equipment, technology upgrades and other costs related to operationalizing new product lines.
To qualify, companies must submit an application at https://pmbc.connect.space/
While the program does not guarantee sales channels, the Pure Michigan Business Connect team will assist grantees by connecting them with demand identified through the COVID-19 Virtual Procurement and Donation Assistance portal. The portal, an effort of PMBC in collaboration with the State Emergency Operation Center, is a free, virtual procurement and donation platform that provides health and human service providers direct access to businesses within the state providing and donating supplies including personal protection equipment, food, medical devices, paper products, cleaning equipment and more.
The platform is also offering a place for companies with manufacturing capabilities for personal protection equipment to indicate which items (i.e. masks, gowns, ventilators) they are able to produce, along with quantity and timing detail. To learn more, visit here: https://www.
Last week, the MEDC announced applications are now being accepted for the Michigan Small Business Relief Program, authorized by the Michigan Strategic Fund on March 19, to provide up to $20 million in grants and loans to provide economic assistance to Michigan’s small businesses that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 virus. The funds are being administered by 15 local and nonprofit economic development organizations (EDOs) around Michigan, covering all 83 counties in the state. Visit https://www.michiganbusiness.
In addition, michiganbusiness.org/covid19 also features other resources for businesses across Michigan to assist them in recovering from economic losses as a result of the COVID-19 virus. This includes U.S. Small Business Administration emergency loans, support services offered through the SBDC and more. The MEDC has also developed a FAQ for Michigan businesses and communities at michiganbusiness.org/covid19-
Over 2,000 Michigan Companies Hiring Now
Michigan companies need to fill thousands of critical, immediate vacancies to support work during the COVID-19 pandemic, including those in logistics, healthcare, manufacturing and agribusiness industries. The State’s employment search engine – Pure Michigan Talent Connect – provides job seekers and employers with an online portal at MiTalent.org to post, search and connect to these job openings.
Thousands of new jobs are being posted to MiTalent.org each day. Employers looking to hire during the COVID-19 pandemic should use the COVID-19 On-Demand Hiring Intake Form to ensure their postings appear in the search results.
MICHIGAN LAUNCHES COVID-19 VOLUNTEER WEBSITE
As Michigan’s healthcare system faces tremendous strains due to the spread of COVID-19, Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) are calling on medical professionals and everyday Michiganders to volunteer their talents and time to save lives.
Governor Whitmer and MDHHS launched a new volunteer website, www.michigan.gov/fightcovid19, where trained medical professionals can register to serve their fellow Michiganders by assisting hospitals in fighting COVID-19. Other state residents also can use the site to find out how they can help in their local communities, give blood, donate money or needed medical supplies, or assist public health officials in tracking infections.
Governor Whitmer has signed a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order, directing all non-critical businesses to temporarily close, all Michiganders to stay home or six feet away from others during COVID-19 crisis. The order is effective at 12:01 am on March 24, 2020 until April 13, 2020 at 11:59 pm. The complete Executive Order is at the end of this information page.
If you have questions related to the governor’s order or the resources below, contact:
Here is the State of Michigan HOTLINE for coronavirus calls: 888-535-6136
With the closure of all K-12 schools around the state a map to locate meals for children can be found at this link:
On 3/16, Governor Whitmer ordered the closing of all restaurants, bars, theaters, casinos and other public spaces (restaurant take-out/delivery permitted). For area establishments offering takeout/delivery and more, see the following links:
Other Important Links:
Information about the COVID-19/Coronavirus is changing rapidly. For the latest information, visit:
Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.
To slow the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan, following are some of the mitigation strategies being recommended:
- Learn about the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, which include fever, cough and difficulty breathing.
- STAY HOME WHEN YOU ARE SICK, and Individuals at risk of severe illness should consider staying at home to avoid others who are sick.
- Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, keyboards, cell phones and light switches.
- Communicate and reinforce best practices for washing hands and covering coughs and sneezes.
- Be sure to maintain a supply of medications, food, and other essentials in your house.
- Cancel or postpone large gatherings, conferences and sporting events (e.g. events with over 100 people).
- Reduce in-person gatherings and activities, especially for organizations with individuals at risk of severe illness. Consider offering video or audio of events.
- Consider tele-learning or tele-work opportunities, where feasible.
- Limit non-essential work travel.
- If you care for a loved one living in a care facility, monitor the situation, ask about the health of the other residents frequently, and know the protocol if there is an outbreak.
- Limit visitors at hospitals and other facilities to only those who are absolutely necessary and implement screening of visitors for temperature and respiratory symptoms.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approved the governor’s request for a statewide Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) declaration, opening the opportunity to small businesses to access low-interest loans from the SBA. The application for disaster loan assistance is available at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/
Mid Michigan Waste Authority Services Update:
Mid Michigan Waste Authority is making some changes to its residential curbside collection services due to the impact of COVID-19 and related emergency declarations. They’re suspending collection of bulk items effective April first. That includes large items like couches, or anything that can’t be contained in a bag or can and weighs more than 50 pounds. Also, yard waste collection, which was scheduled to start on April first, has been postponed.
This order takes effect on March 24, 2020 at 12:01 am, and continues through April 13, 2020 at 11:59 pm.
Acting under the Michigan Constitution of 1963 and Michigan law, I order the following:
(a) For purposes of this order, workers who are necessary to sustain or protect life are defined as “critical infrastructure workers,” as described in sections 8 and 9.
(b) For purposes of this order, workers who are necessary to conduct minimum basic operations are those whose in-person presence is strictly necessary to allow the business or operation to maintain the value of inventory and equipment, care for animals, ensure security, process transactions (including payroll and employee benefits), or facilitate the ability of other workers to work remotely.
Businesses and operations must determine which of their workers are necessary to conduct minimum basic operations and inform such workers of that designation. Businesses and operations must make such designations in writing, whether by electronic message, public website, or other appropriate means. Such designations, however, may be made orally until March 31, 2020 at 11:59 pm.
(a) Consistent with sections 8 and 9, businesses and operations must determine which of their workers are critical infrastructure workers and inform such workers of that designation. Businesses and operations must make such designations in writing, whether by electronic message, public website, or other appropriate means. Such designations, however, may be made orally until March 31, 2020 at 11:59 pm. Businesses and operations need not designate:
(2) Workers who perform necessary government activities, as described in section 6.
(3) Workers and volunteers described in section 9(d).
(b) In-person activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life must be suspended until normal operations resume.
(c) Businesses and operations maintaining in-person activities must adopt social distancing practices and other mitigation measures to protect workers and patrons. Those practices and measures include, but are not limited to:
(1) Restricting the number of workers present on premises to no more than is strictly necessary to perform the business’s or operation’s critical infrastructure functions.
(2) Promoting remote work to the fullest extent possible.
(3) Keeping workers and patrons who are on premises at least six feet from one another to the maximum extent possible, including for customers who are standing in line.
(4) Increasing standards of facility cleaning and disinfection to limit worker and patron exposure to COVID-19, as well as adopting protocols to clean and disinfect in the event of a positive COVID-19 case in the workplace.
(5) Adopting policies to prevent workers from entering the premises if they display respiratory symptoms or have had contact with a person who is known or suspected to have COVID-19.
(6) Any other social distancing practices and mitigation measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.]
(a) For purposes of this order, necessary government activities include activities performed by critical infrastructure workers, including workers in law enforcement, public safety, and first responders.
(b) Such activities also include, but are not limited to, public transit, trash pick-up and disposal, activities necessary to manage and oversee elections, operations necessary to enable transactions that support the work of a business’s or operation’s critical infrastructure workers, and the maintenance of safe and sanitary public parks so as to allow for outdoor recreation.
(d) Any in-person government activities must be performed consistently with the social distancing practices and other mitigation measures to protect workers and patrons described in section 5(c).
(a) Individuals may leave their home or place of residence, and travel as necessary:
(1) To engage in outdoor activity, including walking, hiking, running, cycling, or any other recreational activity consistent with remaining at least six feet from people from outside the individual’s household.
(2) To perform their jobs as critical infrastructure workers after being so designated by their employers. (Critical infrastructure workers who need not be designated under section 5(a) may leave their home for work without a designation.)
(3) To conduct minimum basic operations, as described in section 4(b), after being designated to perform such work by their employers.
(4) To perform necessary government activities, as described in section 6.
(5) To perform tasks that are necessary to their health and safety, or to the health and safety of their family or household members (including pets). Individuals may, for example, leave the home or place of residence to secure medication or to seek medical or dental care that is necessary to address a medical emergency or to preserve the health and safety of a household or family member (including procedures that, in accordance with a duly implemented nonessential procedures postponement plan, have not been postponed).
(6) To obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves, their family or household members, and their vehicles. Individuals must secure such services or supplies via delivery to the maximum extent possible. As needed, however, individuals may leave the home or place of residence to purchase groceries, take-out food, gasoline, needed medical supplies, and any other products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and basic operation of their residences.
(7) To care for a family member or a family member’s pet in another household.
(8) To care for minors, dependents, the elderly, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons.
(9) To visit an individual under the care of a health care facility, residential care facility, or congregate care facility, to the extent otherwise permitted.
(10) To attend legal proceedings or hearings for essential or emergency purposes as ordered by a court.
(11) To work or volunteer for businesses or operations (including both and religious and secular nonprofit organizations) that provide food, shelter, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals, individuals who need assistance as a result of this emergency, and people with disabilities.
(b) Individuals may also travel:
(1) To return to a home or place of residence from outside this state.
(2) To leave this state for a home or residence elsewhere.
(3) To travel between two residences in this state.
(4) As required by law enforcement or a court order, including the transportation of children pursuant to a custody agreement.
(a) Health care and public health.
(b) Law enforcement, public safety, and first responders.
(c) Food and agriculture.
(e) Water and wastewater.
(f) Transportation and logistics.
(g) Public works.
(h) Communications and information technology, including news media.
(i) Other community-based government operations and essential functions.
(j) Critical manufacturing.
(k) Hazardous materials.
(l) Financial services.
(m) Chemical supply chains and safety.
(n) Defense industrial base.
(a) Child care workers (including workers at disaster relief child care centers), but only to the extent necessary to serve the children or dependents of critical infrastructure workers as defined in this order. This category includes individuals (whether licensed or not) who have arranged to care for the children or dependents of critical infrastructure workers.
(b) Workers at designated suppliers and distribution centers, as described below.
(1) A business or operation that employs critical infrastructure workers may designate suppliers, distribution centers, or service providers whose continued operation is necessary to enable, support, or facilitate the work of its critical infrastructure workers.
(2) Such suppliers, distribution centers, or service providers may designate workers as critical infrastructure workers only to the extent those workers are necessary to enable, support, or facilitate the work of the original operation’s or business’s critical infrastructure workers.
(3) Designated suppliers, distribution centers, and service providers may in turn designate additional suppliers, distribution centers, and service providers whose continued operation is necessary to enable, support, or facilitate the work of their critical infrastructure workers.
(4) Such additional suppliers, distribution centers, and service providers may designate workers as critical infrastructure workers only to the extent that those workers are necessary to enable, support, or facilitate the work of the critical infrastructure workers at the supplier, distribution center, or service provider that has designated them.
(5) Businesses, operations, suppliers, distribution centers, and service providers must make all designations in writing to the entities they are designating, whether by electronic message, public website, or other appropriate means. Such designations may be made orally until March 31, 2020 at 11:59 pm.
(6) Businesses, operations, suppliers, distribution centers, and service providers that abuse their designation authority shall be subject to sanctions to the fullest extent of the law.
(c) Workers in the insurance industry, but only to the extent that their work cannot be done by telephone or remotely.
(d) Workers and volunteers for businesses or operations (including both and religious and secular nonprofit organizations) that provide food, shelter, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals, individuals who need assistance as a result of this emergency, and people with disabilities.
(e) Workers who perform critical labor union functions, including those who administer health and welfare funds and those who monitor the well-being and safety of union members who are critical infrastructure workers, provided that any administration or monitoring should be done by telephone or remotely where possible.