UPDATE: MI Governor announces shelter-in-place order as COVID-19 cases climb

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LANSING, MI (WILX) Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has issued a "Stay Home, Stay Safe," executive order for all Michigan residents that will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, lasting for at least the next three weeks.

The order directs all Michigan businesses and operations to temporarily suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life, according to a news release.

This order comes as Michigan says it has 1,328 cases of the coronavirus, in both peninsulas. So far, 15 people have died statewide.

"The current trajectory we're on seems a lot like Italy," said Whitmer. "We've got to do everything in our power to keep that from happening in Michigan."

During her press conference Monday, Gov. Whitmer said schools will be closed until at least April 13. She said she would speak more about that in the future.

During the press conference, it was announced that there have been 15 deaths from the coronavirus in the state of Michigan.

The order also directs Michigan residents to stay in their homes unless they’re a part of what the governor is calling 'critical infrastructure workforce," which includes health care workers, law enforcement, water and wastewater personnel and transportation workers.

In addition, residents can leave their home if they are 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, under the order.

"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," the release said.

The executive order 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.

In 13 days, Michigan went from zero COVID-19 cases to more than 1,000 cases, Whitmer said.

"This is an unprecedented crisis that requires all of us working together to protect our families and our communities," she said. "The most effective way we can slow down the virus is to stay home. I know this will be hard, but it will be temporary. If we all come together, get serious, and do our part by staying home, we can stay safe and save lives.”

“Taking aggressive action to protect our communities is the most important thing we can do to mitigate further spread of COVID-19,” said Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “If we do this now, we can make sure our hospitals and healthcare workers are prepared to take care of the sickest people. It is crucial that people do the right thing by staying home and staying safe.”

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.

Gov. Whitmer's administration said school food service will continue under the executive order, releasing the following statement:

"Gov. Whitmer is committed to ensuring that Michigan students have access to the food they need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the governor's executive order, K-12 school food services are considered critical infrastructure and should continue. The governor deeply appreciates the vital work that our frontline school employees are doing every day to ensure that our kids have the food they need while the order is in effect," Press Secretary Tiffany Brown said.

Michigan is currently in the top five states in the nation for the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Several governors across the country have taken similar steps to protect their communities from the spread of COVID-19, including governors Mike DeWine (R-OH), Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), J.B. Pritzker (D-IL), Tom Wolf (D-PA), Gavin Newsom (D-CA), John Bel Edwards (D-LA), Phil Murphy (D-NJ), and Ned Lamont (D-CT).

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey issued a response following the governor's executive order:

“Governor Whitmer has taken additional action to compel citizens to limit social contact. The Governor has further defined what we understand to be true, that our best defense against COVID-19 is our personal behavior.

Michigan has moved into a new phase in our battle against COVID-19. It is a step none of us wanted to see happen, but one that is necessary. Our response to these orders could be the determining factor in how long the virus impacts our state.

The Senate has been in regular communication with our Governor and her team to offer ideas on how to maintain the ability of individuals to access essential goods and services, while at the same time taking aggressive action to help flatten the curve. We will see an increase in numbers as our healthcare system continues to treat those affected by the virus and gather additional data.

We realize these orders have a dramatic impact on our families, our job providers, and our economy. Senators have provided input on these orders based on information from our constituents about how these measures impact their lives and livelihood. We are actively working on short and long-term responses to help people across Michigan.

Senators and staff continue to be accessible to our citizens. Please visit www.misenategop.com for contact information. We will do our best to answer questions and provide direction,” said Shirkey.

To view the full executive order, click here.

Following Gov. Whitmer's announcement, The Salvation Army of Jackson County has restricted its hours of operation.

The hours of operation will be Monday-Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The pantry will be open from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m.

The Salvation Army of Jackson County is also asking for donations including non-perishable food, bread, paper products such as paper towels and toilet paper, sanitizing products, protective gloves and face masks and gift cards. Those donations must be dropped off during the restricted hours of operation at 806 E. Pearl Street in Jackson.

Financial contributions can be mailed to 806 E. Pearl Street in Jackson, or online.

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