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Community updates: Monday, May 18

Kent County Health Department addresses Gov. Whitmer’s reopening plan following partial Northern Michigan reopening, Whitmer issues executive order expanding pandemic-related worker protections.
Pearl Street Bridge in Grand Rapids, MI.

Pearl Street Bridge in Grand Rapids, MI. /Experience Grand Rapids

With the growth rate curve of coronavirus cases and deaths continuing to slowly flatten statewide and across Kent County, the gradual reopening of economic and social life for West Michiganders continues to follow in response.

Shared in this May 18 update are recent reopening developments impacting local life from the Kent County Health Department and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.


Kent County Health Department addresses Gov. Whitmer’s reopening plan following partial Northern Michigan reopening

We are very clearly now entering a new phase in this pandemic,” Kent County Health Department’s (KCHD) Director, Dr. Adam London, said. London was responding to Whitmer’s May 18 executive order reopening several of Northern Michigan's industries.

With the reopening of retail, restaurants, and offices in the Upper Peninsula and Traverse City regions on May 22, West Michiganders are getting a glimpse of what may be coming sooner than later for their own region. However, with reopenings on the horizon, London reminds locals that the pandemic is still far from over.

Let’s all be very careful that as these numbers continue to improve and things can reopen, that we don’t disregard COVID-19 as something that we got through,” London said in the KCHD’s May 18 video update.

We need to continue to take this vey serious. Most of us are still totally susceptible to infection, so we need to continue to do the things that we’ve already shown can be effective in making it hard for this virus to spread person to person.” London went on to remind locals of the effectiveness of hand washing, wearing face coverings, physical distancing, disinfecting commonly-touched surfaces, working from home if possible, and staying home if sick.

Details about Whitmer’s MI Safe Start Plan, which lists the criteria the state’s using to reopen Michigan by region, is available on the State of Michigan’s website.


Gov. Whitmer issues executive order expanding worker protections amid gradual workplace reopenings

Gov. Whitmer signed an additional executive order May 18 expanding worker protections in light of the state’s gradual reopenings. The order creates an enforceable set of workplace standards applying to all Michigan businesses to protect their workers, patrons, and communities from coronavirus infection.

To ensure businesses comply with the order, Whitmer’s also called for the appointment of a new Director of COVID-19 Workplace Safety within the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO).

The vast majority of Michigan businesses are doing their part to slow the spread of COVID-19, but we must do more to ensure Michiganders are safe at work,” said Whitmer. “This executive order, and the Director of COVID-19 Workplace Safety, will help ensure employers take the needed measures to protect workers and customers from the spread of COVID-19. I will continue to work around the clock with LEO Director Donofrio and my partners in health care, business, and labor to ensure protections for every Michigan worker.”

The details of Whitmer’s order requiring new workplace standards are available in its Executive Order page on her official website.


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