COVID-19 November Updates

POAM is sharing the latest COVID-19 November updates affecting our great state of Michigan. We will consistently update this post as additional updates come in.

This information is from the Michigan Executive Office of the Governor’s email newsletter.

Monday, November 16, 2020 Update

Introduction of Three-Week Pause

Last night, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, and MDHHS Director Robert Gordon announced a new three-week pause targeting indoor social gatherings and other group activities in an effort to curb rapidly rising COVID-19 infection rates. The new order is aimed at limiting residential and non-residential gatherings where COVID-19 can spread rapidly.

“In the spring, we listened to public health experts, stomped the curve, and saved thousands of lives together. Now, we must channel that same energy and join forces again to protect our families, frontline workers and small businesses,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “Right now, there are thousands of cases a day and hundreds of deaths a week in Michigan, and the number is growing. If we don’t act now, thousands more will die, and our hospitals will continue to be overwhelmed. We can get through this together by listening to health experts once again and taking action right now to slow the spread of this deadly virus.”

Under the MDHHS epidemic order:

  • Indoor residential gatherings are limited to two households at any one time. Gatherings involving more than one household are capped at ten. MDHHS has issued social gathering guidance, designed to help minimize the risk of gatherings.
  • Bars and restaurants will be open only for outdoor dining, carry-out, and delivery.
  • Gyms will remain open for individual exercise with strict safety measures in place, including at least 12 feet of distance between exercise stations and the closure of group classes.
  • Casinos, movie theaters, and other recreational facilities will be closed.
  • Professional and college sports meeting extraordinary standards for risk mitigation may continue without spectators, however, all other organized sports must stop.
  • Colleges and high schools may proceed with remote learning but must end in-person classes.

Termination of Transporting Petroleum

On Friday, Governor Whitmer and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Director Dan Eichinger notified Enbridge that the 1953 easement allowing it to operate dual pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac to transport petroleum and other products is being revoked and terminated. They also filed a lawsuit asking the Ingham County Circuit Court to recognize the validity of this action. The state is revoking the easement for violation of the public trust doctrine, given the unreasonable risk that continued operation of the dual pipelines poses to the Great Lakes. Moreover, the state is terminating the easement based on Enbridge’s persistent and incurable violations of the easement’s terms and conditions.

“Here in Michigan, the Great Lakes define our borders, but they also define who we are as people. Enbridge has routinely refused to take action to protect our Great Lakes and the millions of Americans who depend on them for clean drinking water and good jobs. They have repeatedly violated the terms of the 1953 easement by ignoring structural problems that put our Great Lakes and our families at risk,” said Governor Whitmer. “Most importantly, Enbridge has imposed on the people of Michigan an unacceptable risk of a catastrophic oil spill in the Great Lakes that could devastate our economy and way of life. That’s why we’re taking action now, and why I will continue to hold accountable anyone who threatens our Great Lakes and freshwater.”

New Cases

MDHHS announced 7,072 cases of COVID-19 from Saturday. This brings the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 to 251,813.Michigan Coronavirus Map Update | November Updates

Happening Across State Government
  • The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity announced their “Back To Michigan” series of eight virtual job fairs for people interested in relocating back to Michigan, will be hosted by community partners throughout the state from November 17-24.

During each of the eight virtual events – which are free to attend – job seekers can talk one-on-one with recruiters from organizations with immediate talent needs, and community ambassadors will be on hand to answer questions for those who may be considering a move back to Michigan.

“Despite the unique challenges presented by COVID-19, we’re committed to delivering services and resources needed by our workers and businesses to make Michigan a leader in talent attraction and retention,” said Susan Corbin, Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) Acting Director. “Providing this virtual job fair platform allows us to work directly with partner organizations – including the statewide Michigan Works! agencies and Back To Michigan – to support Michigan’s employers, career seekers, parents who want their adult children and grandchildren back in Michigan, and communities in a meaningful way.”

  • The Michigan Economic Development Corporation CEO Mark Burton sat down with the Detroit Free Press to talk about what Michigan is doing to build a strong economy.
  • The Michigan Public Service Commission reminded businesses and residents about a natural gas price-comparison website, CompareMIGas, that’s a beneficial resource for those who want to make informed decisions about choosing a natural gas provider or evaluating their current rates.
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November Updates: Resources

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Related Post: November Updates – Michigan Legislative Consultants’ COVID-19 Newsletter