Michigan car wash caught violating executive order by staying open during COVID-19 crisis

Car wash not deemed essential business during coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

A generic car wash sign. (Getty Images)

PORTAGE, Mich. – A Michigan car wash was caught violating the state’s executive order by staying open even though it’s not considered an essential business during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office and Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeffrey Getting sent a cease and desist letter to Crystal Car Wash in Portage.

UPDATE -- April 3, 2020: Michigan coronavirus cases up to 12,744; Death toll now at 479

The business failed to comply with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order that limits nonessential businesses from operating during the coronavirus pandemic.

Crystal Car Wash should not be maintaining on-site operations, but reports indicated it was still open, according to authorities.

Nonessential businesses should not require workers to leave their homes, government officials said.

“It is clear that Prosecutor Getting feels the same way I do when it comes to protecting the public health and welfare of this state’s residents, and I thank him for his cooperation on this matter,” Nessel said. “Businesses across Michigan must carefully consider the legal and financial consequences they will face if they are not complying with the Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order, as well as their individual moral responsibilities to protect the health and safety of their customers and employees. We all have a role to play in this public emergency, and we will get through this by working together.”

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Violations can result in a $1,000 fine and/or 90 days in jail for each offense, as well as licensing penalties for businesses and other entities, officials said.

Violations should be reported to law enforcement agencies overseeing the jurisdiction in which the alleged offense occurs, according to authorities.

“During this unprecedented medical crisis, we are all being asked to make sacrifices for the common good,” Getting said. “We each have to do our part to limit the number of people who are being exposed to this deadly virus. Those people who choose to willfully ignore Gov. Whitmer’s executive orders are putting everyone in greater jeopardy. That can’t be allowed to continue. The threat of criminal prosecution is a serious step to take. It is not one that is done lightly. But it is a step that both the office of the attorney general and the Kalamazoo County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney are prepared to take if necessary.”


The Attorney General’s Office recently added a new section to its website, Know Your Employment Rights, to provide Michigan residents with more information on the legal rights of employees and employers under the executive order.

Additional information for employers can be found on the Guidance for Business page on the state’s website devoted to COVID-19.

A summary of the activities people can and can’t do under the Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order can be found here.

The state’s COVID-19 website also has information on the governor’s other executive orders, directives and FAQs.

About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.