The Rapidian

COVID-19 in Grand Rapids: Thursday, March 26 updates

Gov. Whitmer issues more executive orders in response to COVID-19 outbreak, Kent County Department of Public Works temporarily suspends services at Recycling Center, LINC UP and Kids’ Food Basket to distribute food to children, and more statements from local organizations issued March 25-26, 2020.
The Kent County Recycling Center will be closed to all inbound loads and all services "due to coronavirus precautions."

The Kent County Recycling Center will be closed to all inbound loads and all services "due to coronavirus precautions." /Kent County Department of Public Works

The coronavirus outbreak continues and so do connected developments from local and state organizations and offices relevant to local life.

Shared in this Thursday, March 26, 2020 update are statements impacting Grand Rapids residents from Gov. Whitmer’s Office, the Michigan Department of Attorney General, the Kent County Health Department, the Kent County Department of Public Works, LINC UP, and the Grand Rapids Pride Center.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Gov. Whitmer has issued three additional executive orders beyond yesterday’s order that extended the deadline to complete the canvas of the state’s March 10 presidential primary to April 24. All of these additional orders are likewise in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

These three new executive orders, all effective yesterday, March 25, include temporarily expanding unemployment eligibility and health insurance cost-sharing, temporarily easing restrictions on pharmacists, and temporarily allowing employment and other administrative hearings by video conference.

Regarding the order expanding unemployment eligibility and health insurance cost-sharing, Whitmer stated that “no one should be worried about how to make ends meet if they cannot work because of self-isolation or self-quarantine in response to contracting the coronavirus.”

Whitmer went on to vow that she would “continue to take action that protects public health, while also ensuring that working families have the support they need during these hard times.” 

More details about the executive orders are available on the Executive Order page of the state’s website.

Michigan Department of Attorney General

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has provided guidance on how to file complaints about individuals and businesses that aren’t complying with Gov. Whitmer’s executive orders. The guidance follows the flood of phone calls her Consumer Protection intake lines have received relating to violations of Whitmer’s March 23 “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order.

The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection intake team will continue to receive consumer reports of price-gouging and scams. Those can be made online on the Attorney General’s Complaints page or by calling the office’s tip line at 877-765-8388.

For other violations of Whitmer’s executive orders, Michigan residents are instructed to contact the local law enforcement agency where they reside.

As Grand Rapids Police Department Chief Eric Payne made clear in his Tuesday, March 24, statement, however, contacting Grand Rapids’ law enforcement agency means calling “311 or 616-456-3000 to report any [such] concerns,” not 911.

“We need to keep the 911 lines open for emergencies,” Payne stated. “Dispatching officers to investigate whether a business is essential or not is not the best use of our resources at this time.”

Kent County Health Department

The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) announced they will be hosting a “virtual town hall meeting” on Friday, March 27, at 2pm.

In attendance will be Dr. Adam London, Director of the KCHD, Dr. Nirali Bora, Medical Director of the KCHD, and Brian Hartl, Supervising Epidemiologist of the KCHD, the department detailed on their Facebook page.

The department will be available during the virtual town hall to answer coronavirus questions live and questions may submitted to them before the meeting via Facebook Messenger.

Kent County Department of Public Works

The Kent County Department of Public Works (KCDPW) announced that effective Friday, March 27, at 5pm, the Kent County Recycling & Education Center will be temporarily closed to all inbound loads and all services at this location “due to coronavirus precautions.”

The South Kent Recycling & Waste Center and Waste to Energy Facility will remain open and the North Kent Recycling & Waste Center will remain open for solid waste disposal only.

Despite the KCDPW’s temporary on-site closures, the City of Grand Rapids will continue to pick up recyclables in the area.

More information about the KCDPW’s service changes is available on their website.

LINC UP

Partnering with Kids’ Food Basket, LINC UP will begin distributing food to children, with the first distribution being Friday, March 27, from 10:30am to 11:30am outside of the organization’s building. LINC UP is located at 1167 Madison Ave. SE.

Beginning next week, starting March 30, LINC UP will distribute food every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until further notice.

More information about the ongoing partnership will be available on LINC UP’s Facebook page and Kids’ Food Basket’s Facebook page.

Grand Rapids Pride Center

Rounding out today’s local developments, the Grand Rapids Pride Center has announced the rescheduling of their annual Grand Rapids Pride Festival event to Saturday, August 1, in response to the outbreak. The event will take place at Calder Plaza.

More information about the event’s rescheduling is available on their website.

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