Michigan - COVID-19 Covered

Michigan

Total Cases: 57,532 (June 2)
Tests Administered: 568,023 (June 1)
Fatalities: 5,516 (June 2)
Testing:
  • Governor Whitmer signed an executive order that expands the types of medical personnel that can order a test and creates a new category of community testing sites that offer testing to anyone with reason to be tested without an advance order with no out-of-pocket cost to any resident. (May 26)
  • Governor Whitmer set a goal to test 450,000 Michigan residents for COVID-19 during May. (May 11)
  • HGHI and NPR published new state testing targets, showing Michigan would need to ramp up its testing capacity by five times to meet HGHI’s recommended target. (May 8)
  • Governor Whitmer and MDHHS announce free drive-thru COVID-19 testing through a partnership with Kroger Health. (May 7)
  • Governor Whitmer announced that the state is partnering with major retailers – including Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid – to open drive-thru sites to test as many as 1,000 people a day for the coronavirus, with essential workers taking priority. (April 20)

ECONOMIC RESPONSE

Essential Service Designations:

  • Governor Whitmer’s new “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order will allow “landscapers, lawn-service companies, and nurseries” to return to work as long as they use strict social distancing. It also allows retailers to reopen for curbside pick-up and for delivery and big box stores to reopen “closed areas,” like garden centers. (April 24)
  • In accordance with Governor Whitmer’s order to close all non-essential businesses, the following sectors have been deemed essential: health care and public health, law enforcement, public safety, first responders, food and agriculture, energy, waste and wastewater, transportation and logistics, public works, communications and IT (including news media), community-based government operations, critical manufacturing, hazardous materials and chemicals, financial services, defense. (March 23)

Labor & Workforce Guidance, Standards and Regulations:

  • Michigan’s Secretary of State announced branch offices will reopen June 1 by appointment only for essential transactions not available online. (May 28)
  • Governor Whitmer lifted requirements that nursing homes establish special coronavirus units, giving the facilities more flexibility to decide if they can safely isolate people. (May 21)
  • Governor Whitmer extended her previous order that gives pharmacists increased operational capacity and expands access to prescriptions. (May 19)
  • Governor Whitmer signed an executive order to ensure protections for Michigan workers by requiring all businesses to adhere to strict safety guidelines. (May 18)
  • Governor Whitmer extended a prior executive order which lifts regulatory requirements on hospitals and care facilities to “help ensure adequate personnel and facilities to serve patients during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.” (May 12)
  • Governor Whitmer extended her previous order to allow certain state administrative hearings to be held by video conference or phone in place of in-person hearings. (May 11)
  • Michigan’s chief medical executive and chief deputy health director announced hospitals and physicians have “broad discretion” to choose to delay procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic. (May 4)
  • Governor Whitmer signed an Executive Order to provide temporary relief for customers and employees by “suspending certain licensing requirements and regulations for foodservice industries.” (April 26)
  • Governor Whitmer signed an Executive Order to protect the safety of employees and residents of long-term care facilities by creating COVID-19 designated regional hubs to provide “higher levels of care and services to treat patients with increased needs.” (April 15)
  • Governor Whitmer signed an executive order prohibiting employers from discharging or retaliating against an employee for staying home from work if they or one of their close contacts tests positive for COVID-19 or has systems related to the disease. (April 3)
  • Governor Whitmer announced the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Compensation programs which provide benefits for workers who do not qualify for state unemployment benefits, including self-employed workers, 1099-independent contractors, gig, and low-wage workers. (March 30)
  • Governor Whitmer issued an order directing all non-essential Michigan businesses and operations to temporarily suspend in-person operations. (March 23)

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • Governor Whitmer signed executive orders extending her previous orders to provide access and capacity for childcare services until June 10, 2020 (with priority given to essential workers) and continuing to protect residents and staff in long-term care facilities and extend until May 20, 2020. (May 14)
  • To help offset the state’s budget deficit, Michigan will participate in the federal Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) Work Share program. As a part of this program, “impacted state employees will take two temporary layoff days per pay period beginning Sunday, May 17th until July 25th resulting in up to $80 million in decreased wage costs.” (May 13)
  • The Consumers Energy Foundation donated $1.8 million to nine organizations to provide relief to small businesses (particularly female- and minority-owned companies) impacted by COVID-19. (May 9)
  • Governor Whitmer signed an order to “temporarily extend the expiration of state identification cards, driver’s licenses, and operator endorsements, as well as suspend penalties for vehicle registration violations, and protect Michigan drivers.” (May 8)
  • Governor Whitmer signed an Executive Directive to create the Michigan COVID-19 Office of Accountability, which will “provide oversight of all spending to address this crisis, and must report regularly on its work to the governor and the state budget director.” (May 4)
  • Governor Whitmer announced an expansion of the state’s Workshare Program, allowing employers to “reduce employee hours to receive weekly unemployment insurance (UI) benefits as well as the additional $600 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) weekly benefit.” (April 29)
  • Governor Whitmer announced a $130 million investment to “make childcare more affordable and accessible for Michigan families during the COVID-19 pandemic.” (April 29)
  • Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services announced the creation of the MiMortgage Relief Partnership to partner with over 200 financial institutions to “ensure that no one experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 will lose their home.” (April 23)
  • Governor Whitmer signed an Executive Order to create a Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities. (April 20)
  • Governor Whitmer led a coalition of 12 governors calling on the Trump administration to reconsider its decision to allow for a special enrollment period of at least 30 days on the federal health care exchange. (April 13)
  • Governor Whitmer announced that Michigan self-employed workers, gig workers, 1099-independent contractors, and low-wage workers affected by COVID-19 can apply for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. (April 10)
  • CMS approved Michigan’s request for a Section 1135 Medicaid waiver which provides flexibilities in “Medicaid provider screening and enrollment, lift prior authorization requirements, allow for reimbursement facility services in alternative settings, and waive public comment and tribal consultation requirements for certain changes to the Medicaid state plan.” (April 7)
  • Michigan US Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters announced $53 million in funding for local governments in Southeast Michigan to help battle the coronavirus. The funding was included in the CARES Act signed into law on March 27. (April 3)
  • The White House approved the request for a Major Disaster Declaration in Michigan. (March 28)
  • Governor Whitmer signed an executive order extending all state and city income filing deadlines in Michigan to July 2020. (March 27)
  • Unemployment eligibility has been extended for those who have an unanticipated family care responsibility, workers who are sick, quarantined, or immunocompromised and do not have access to paid leave, as well as first responders in the public health community who have been affected by COVID-19. (March 16)
  • Michigan Medicaid will waive co-pays and cost-sharing for testing and health care treatment of COVID-19. (March 6)

Business Support & Resources:

  • Governor Whitmer announced that more than $3.3 million in financial relief will go to 657 bar and restaurant owners across the state. (May 4)
  • Governor Whitmer signed an Executive Order initiating a spirits buy-back program to offer financial relief to bars and restaurants with on-premises liquor licenses during the continuing COVID-19 crisis. (April 13)
  • Governor Whitmer announced that Michigan businesses can now apply for $349 billion in Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loans through the US Small Business Administration. (April 3)
  • The US Small Business Administration approved Governor Whitmer’s request for a statewide Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) declaration, allowing small businesses to apply for low-interest federal loans. (March 19)
  • The Michigan Small Business Relief Program, authorized by the Michigan Strategic Fund, will provide more than $20 million in grants and loans to support small businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19. (March 19)

SOCIAL RESTRICTIONS

Shelter-In-Place Orders:

  • Governor Whitmer rescinding her Safer at Home order, moving the entire state to phase four of the MI Safe Start Plan, which allows retailers to reopen on June 4, restaurants, and children’s day camps to reopen on June 8, all subject to capacity limits. (June 1)
  • Governor Whitmer Governor sent a letter to President Trump requesting an extension to use Michigan National Guard forces to combat the spread of COVID-19 through July 31. (May 28)
  • Governor Whitmer announced the launch of an online dashboard that visually displays COVID-19 risks and trends. (May 26)
  • Governor Whitmer signed an executive order to reopen retail businesses and auto dealerships by appointment statewide on May 26; allow also nonessential medical, dental, and veterinary procedures statewide beginning on May 29; and authorizes small socially distanced gatherings of 10 people or less starting immediately. (May 21)
  • Governor Whitmer outlined six phases of her MI Safe Start Plan to re-engage Michigan’s economy, and said Michigan is currently in Phase 3, “The epidemic is no longer increasing and the health system’s capacity is sufficient for current needs.” (May 7)
  • Governor Whitmer issued an executive order allowing some types of work that present a low risk of infection, including construction, real-estate activities, and work that is traditionally and primarily performed outdoors, to resume on May 7. (May 1)
  • Governor Whitmer issued an executive order extending Michigan’s state of emergency through May 28. (April 30)
  • Michigan’s Republican-led House refused to extend the emergency declaration and voted to authorize a lawsuit “challenging governor Whitmer’s authority and actions to combat the pandemic.” (April 30)

Curfews:

  • No state-wide records found as of April 28.
  • Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley instituted a city-wide curfew from 9 pm to 6 am, which will be in effect for 30 days. (April 1)

Social-Distancing Guidelines:

  • Michigan restaurants and bars pushed Governor Whitmer to let them reopen on May 29, when restrictions are set to end. (May 8)
  • Michigan’s Legislature voted to lengthen Governor Whitmer’s coronavirus emergency declaration by 23 days, through April, instead of adopting a 70-day extension she sought into mid-June. (April 7)

Delivery Services:

  • The Michigan Economic Development Corporation PlanetM initiative awarded more than $280,000 in technology innovation grants to companies developing solutions to mobility challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. (May 26)

SCHOOL CLOSURES

K-12:

  • Governor Whitmer says her “hope” is that K-12 schools can reopen in Michigan in the fall and created an advisory council to develop a road map on the matter. (May 15)
  • Senator Wayne Schmidt (Chair of the Senate’s education budget subcommittee) warned of a potential 25% cut in state funding for K-12 schools due to the economic fallout from COVID-19. (May 12)
  • Governor Whitmer signed an executive order suspending in-person learning at K-12 schools in Michigan for the remainder of the school year. (April 2)

State Higher Education:

  • Michigan’s colleges and universities have lost hundreds of millions of dollars because of the coronavirus pandemic, with the possibility that some may not survive. (April 24)

Produced by Marathon Strategies, an independent PR firm that delivers intelligent communications and research solutions. For information, email Phil Singer at COVID-19@marathonstrategies.com