Michigan governor issues ‘stay-at-home’ order as COVID-19 cases increase

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announces a stay-at-home order on March 23, 2020. (WDIV)

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed the Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order (EO 2020-21), directing all Michigan businesses and operations to temporarily suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life.

The order also directs Michiganders to stay in their homes unless they’re a part of that critical infrastructure workforce, engaged in an outdoor activity, or performing tasks necessary to the health and safety of themselves or their family, like going to the hospital or grocery store.


Effective at 12:01 am on March 24, 2020, for at least the next three weeks, individuals may only leave their home or place of residence under very limited circumstances, and they must adhere to social distancing measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when they do so, including remaining at least six feet from people from outside the individual’s household to the extent feasible under the circumstances.

Executive Order 2020-21 prohibits all businesses and operations from requiring workers to leave their homes, unless those workers are necessary to sustain or protect life or to conduct minimum basic operations. Businesses and operations are to designate the workers that meet those criteria, and must adopt social distancing practices and other mitigation measures to protect workers and patrons in the performance of that necessary in-person work.

Workers that are necessary to sustain or protect life include those in health care and public health, law enforcement and public safety, grocery store workers, and more.

Additionally, under Executive Order 2020-21, all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring among persons outside a single household are temporarily prohibited. People may leave the house to perform for limited, necessary purposes, and may engage in outdoor activities like walking, hiking, running, cycling, or any other recreational activity, consistent with remaining at least six feet from people from outside a person’s household and with other restrictions imposed by prior executive orders.

On Friday, Whitmer held a news conference and cleared up rumors circulating about a lockdown and martial law in the state.

“I am not calling for martial law. That is a rumor and it is false. And it’s dangerous for people to foment fear and put out bad information," Whitmer said.

On a possible shelter-in-place or “stay-at-home” order, similar to orders in California, Illinois and New York, Whitmer said Friday the state wasn’t there yet.

Now there are more than 1,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Michigan, with nine deaths confirmed. Health officials with the Washtenaw County Health Department announced Sunday the county’s first coronavirus-related death, bringing the state total to nine.

On Sunday, Ohio’s governor announced the state is enacting a stay-at-home order as the number of cases in the state spiked to more than 350. The order includes things he’s already been asking residents to do, such as stay at home except for essential needs. It also includes a list of businesses that are classified as essential and allowed to stay open. The Ohio governor said the order is reasonable and keeping people at home and preventing transmission of the virus can help buy time so that the state’s hospitals do not become overwhelmed, he said. Read more here.

Read about lockdowns in California, New York and Illinois here.

Coronavirus in Michigan: Here’s where we stand as of Monday morning

About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.