TRAVERSE CITY — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued an Emergency Order Thursday, setting a civil penalty of $1,000 and possible licensing infractions if businesses or individuals are found not to be in compliance of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order.
The emergency order authorizes local law enforcement to investigate possible violations and coordinate with prosecutors and health departments on enforcement.
“We are not imposing anything,” said Captain Keith Gillis of the Traverse City Police Department. “We are documenting what occurs and what is not in compliance and then forwarding a report to the prosecutor to make that decision.”
The executive order bans gatherings in public places, closes schools, limiting to only essential travel (to and from work/grocery store) and prohibits in-person work that is nor necessary to “sustain or protect life.”
Gillis said the TCPD has not had to forward complaints of this kind to the prosecuting attorney yet but anticipates some complaints if the order is in place for an extended period of time.
“We are asking for everybody in the public to be compliant so that we can put this in the rear window without getting anybody else sick,” he said.
The order for a civil penalty is still open for the prosecutor to file criminal charges in extreme cases.
If businesses are found to be in violation they will enter a process for referral to their respective licensing agency for further enforcement action. Local law enforcement also has the authority to ban access to businesses who fail to comply.
Places of religious worship, when used for worship, are exempt from the emergency order.
When many small business doors are closed, they may apply for the Paycheck Protection Program offered by the federal government.
The state of Michigan also expanded the Business Accelerator Fund to help tech companies across the state.
Grand Traverse County announced two more positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 11. Both new cases have been hospitalized, a man in his 50s and a man in his 80s.
The Grand Traverse County Health Department also announced Friday that two of the positive cases have made a full recovery and have been cleared by the Centers for Disease Control guidelines — both patients are still following the executive order.
There are at least 63 positive cases and six deaths related to the illness cause by the novel coronavirus in northwest lower Michigan as of Friday evening. Manistee County announced its second positive case Friday and Otsego saw an increase of only one positive, up to 21.
The first death in Otsego County was announced Friday evening.
Other numbers of presumed positive cases across northwest lower Michigan remained the same.
There are at least 12,744 presumed positive cases in Michigan with at least 479 deaths from COVID-19.
The state began reporting the total number of tests reported to them on Friday with 37,992 tests completed as of 1 p.m. Friday. These numbers include tests run by state labs, private labs and health departments. Munson Healthcare has tested 813 across its family of hospitals and are awaiting 163 results.