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Corona virus in Michigan: where we stand as of Monday, March 16

Things changed fast and furiously in Michigan from Friday, March 13 to Monday, March 16.

We went from 12 cases of confirmed COVID-19 to 53. Three of those cases are in Kent County.

On Friday, Governor Whitmer announced the closing of all Michigan schools for three weeks, from March 16 to April 5. Some districts then have spring break, bringing it to a total of four weeks.

The Kent County Health Department issued an emergency order on Sunday, March 15, 2020, reducing occupancy loads – or limits – for all licensed food service establishments, entertainment venues and physical fitness centers in Kent County by 50 percent, which went into effect Monday at 10 a.m.

On Monday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an order due to take effect at 3 p.m. temporarily shutting down restaurants, cafes, coffee houses, bars, taverns, brewpubs, distilleries, clubs, movie theaters, indoor and outdoor performance venues, gymnasiums, fitness centers, recreation centers, indoor sports facilities, indoor exercise facilities, exercise studios, spas, and casinos. 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. Restaurants may allow five people inside at a time to pick-up orders, so long as they stay six feet apart from each other. This order remains in effect until 11:59 p.m. on March 30, 2020.

Many restaurants are planning to offer take out or delivery. Contact them or visit their Facebook page to see what options they are offering.

The Governor also offered relief to those forced not to work during this time by signing an order for expanded unemployment benefits. Those benefitting include: workers who have an unanticipated family care responsibility, including those who have childcare responsibilities due to school closures, or those who are forced to care for loved ones who become ill; workers who are sick, quarantined, or immunocompromised and who do not have access to paid family and medical leave or are laid off; first responders in the public health community who become ill or are quarantined due to exposure to COVID-19.

The Governor’s March 10 executive order prohibiting assemblages of more than 250 people still stands.

Also, the CDC issued new guidelines Sunday night advising against gatherings of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks. “We support the CDC in this recommendation, and we encourage individuals to minimize the size of public gatherings,” said Dr. Adam London, Chief Health Officer with the Kent County Health Department.

Many businesses and municipalities are closing to the general public or restricting their available hours. The City of Cedar Springs is closing to the general public as of Tuesday, but can still be reached by phone and email. Face to face meetings will be by appointment only.

The Post is also closed to the general public but can be reached by phone and email. We also have a mailbox outside our front door for submissions.

We suggest you contact any business before visiting to see whether they have open business hours.

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