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New order limits indoor and outdoor gatherings where COVID-19 is more likely to spread from person to person
LANSING, MICH. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued a new emergency order today that enacts a three-week pause targeting indoor social gatherings and other group activities in an effort to curb rapidly rising COVID-19 infection rates.
Under this order, indoor residential gatherings are limited to two households at any one time. However, MDHHS strongly urges families to pick a single other household to interact with over the next three weeks, consistent with new guidance released by the department. The order is aimed at limiting residential and non-residential gatherings where COVID-19 spreads rapidly. Bars and restaurants will be open for outdoor dining, carry-out and delivery only. Gyms will remain open for individual exercise with strict safety measures in place. Casinos, movie theaters and group exercise classes 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.
“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."
“Indoor gatherings are the greatest source of spread, and sharply limiting them is our focus,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “The order is targeted and temporary, but a terrible loss of life will be forever unless we act. By coming together today, we can save thousands of lives.”
Today’s order, which takes effect Wednesday, Nov. 18, is not a blanket stay-home action like in the spring. The order leaves open work that cannot be performed from home, including for manufacturing, construction and health occupations. Outdoor gatherings, outdoor dining and parks remain open. Individualized activities with distancing and face masks are still allowed: retail shopping; public transit; restaurant takeout; personal-care services such as haircuts, by appointment; and individualized exercise at a gym, with extra spacing between machines.
Michigan has seen fewer outbreaks associated with elementary and middle schools, and younger children are most in need of in-person instruction. In-person K-8 schooling may continue if it can be done with strong mitigation, including mask requirements, based on discussion between local health and school officials. Childcare also remains open to support working parents. Throughout this crisis, Michigan’s teachers and childcare workers have served on the front lines ensuring support for working parents and educating our children. Governor Whitmer’s administration has worked around the clock to protect Michigan’s teachers and childcare workers and the other heroes serving on the front lines of the pandemic.
“The data we are seeing is alarming. COVID-19 is impacting every area of our state. Our healthcare systems are becoming overwhelmed, and our contact tracers cannot keep up,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. “If we do not act now, we risk thousands more deaths, and even more people having long-term health consequences. The actions we are taking today are the best opportunity we have to get this virus under control.”
“We know these restrictions are difficult, but we support them as a necessary step to mitigate the spread of this virus. We have seen firsthand the devastating effects of COVID-19,” said Wright L. Lassiter III, president and CEO of Henry Ford Health System. “The dramatic rise in admissions at hospitals across Michigan is not sustainable. We strongly urge everyone to honor these restrictions and continue safety measures like wearing masks, avoiding gatherings, and practicing social distancing and hand hygiene. Preventing the spread is our collective responsibility and we must be willing to make these sacrifices to save lives of those we love.”
“Restaurants and bars have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic but we understand these new restrictions while painful are necessary to try to flatten the curve and save lives,” said Paola R. Mendivil, owner of El Granjero Mexican Grill, a family-owned restaurant in Grand Rapids. “We in the restaurant industry understand we have to listen to medical experts and work together to beat COVID-19 and we applaud the Governor for her continued support for additional federal stimulus dollars so we keep struggling restaurants and bars afloat during these difficult times and support the tens of thousands of restaurant workers who put themselves at risk each and every day.”
“We stand united with Governor Whitmer’s decision to impose additional restrictions to protect Michiganders against the spread of COVID-19,” said Tommey Walker, creator of Detroit vs Everybody. “We are currently making plans to be innovative and pivot as we enter the holiday season. We beat this last time by listening to the public health experts, and we can beat it again. These steps are what the public health experts say we need to take to avoid overwhelmed hospitals and death counts like we saw in the spring. Together we can make a difference. Everybody vs. COVID-19.”
Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.
Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) today joined her colleague Rep. Paul Mitchell (MI-10) in publishing a bipartisan opinion article in The Detroit News calling on political leaders to respect the will of Michigan voters and resist pressure to overturn the state’s presidential results.
“President Donald Trump should ... allow the rest of the country to move forward,” they write. “And, most importantly — the reason we are writing this joint piece: Elected leaders must recognize their role in history, respect democracy and ensure continued confidence in our elections, regardless of pressure.”
Their joint article comes as the Trump campaign mounts an effortto delay certification of Michigan’s results, nullify the verdict of Michigan voters and capture the state’s 16 votes in the Electoral College.
The full text of the Slotkin-Mitchell article follows:
The two of us, Republican and Democrat, disagree on many issues. But we agree — and we think most Americans agree — on a bedrock principle of democracy: that in our system, the will of the people prevails.
Joe Biden won Michigan by about 154,000 votes, according to the current unofficial results. He won enough states to clearly prevail in the Electoral College. President Donald Trump should accept those facts and allow the rest of the country to move forward. And, most importantly — the reason we are writing this joint piece: Elected leaders must recognize their role in history, respect democracy and ensure continued confidence in our elections, regardless of pressure.
We know many of our residents are disappointed by his loss. But there is simply no indication of massive fraud, wrongdoing or gross error in Michigan’s election results. Chris Thomas, probably the most knowledgeable and respected election official in all of Michigan for his service under administrations of both parties, personally watched absentee vote counting at Detroit’s TCF Center and saw no signs of error or wrongdoing. And, as the Republican former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — who lived through two full-state recounts — said earlier this month, recounts shift only a few hundred votes, not thousands. Against the 154,000-vote margin between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, there just isn’t any there there.
The continued refusal to acknowledge the election results risks corroding our democracy by literally hollowing it out. If we no longer believe in our own system — with our local elected clerks following the laws — then our ability to choose our leaders is at fundamental risk, as is our system of governing. This isn’t about any one person. This is about maintaining the system that our Founding Fathers designed, and that defines us as a nation.
It’s because of that risk that we must call upon elected and appointed leaders in Michigan to rise above the political pressure and the conspiracy theories and to lead as if your state and your country depend on you. Because they do. We remind our colleagues at all levels of government that history will judge us all and we should all act accordingly. Doing the right thing and the hard thing are often the same thing. Let’s show the country that Michigan residents believe in our democracy more than anything else.
We need to move on as a country. The presidential transition process needs to begin in earnest. It’s critical that the Biden team be briefed on the classified details of current threats. And the health and economic fallouts from COVID-19 require immediate attention. We have work to do, and it’s time to get to it.
Mert’s is proud to be able to deliver our quality products direct to your door.
Consider home delivery service for your Holiday Products this year.
Our delivery service charge is a flat rate – no extras for mileage or weight or number of bags – no minimum purchase amount – no maximum purchase amount – you just want four links of sausage? – you ordered a 45 pound meat bundle? That’s okay with us! Delivery charges cannot be discounted. Call the store at 517-574-5014 to inquire about the particular address to which you want a delivery.
When you think of Poutine, your thoughts immediately wander north of the border into the land of maple syrup, and hockey. A Canadian traditional dish of French fries, topped with gravy and cheese curds poutine is winning the world over as a hearty comfort food meant for colder weather. Would you ever think that the best poutine in the area could be had in the heart of Meridian Township? Henry’s Place in Okemos is serving up some the best and most unique poutine around and we had to try it!
Henry’s serves up five different types of poutine, the classic which has beef gravy and mozzarella cheese, the pork belly poutine with Mozzarella cheese, pork belly and a sunny-side egg, the Los Pollos bacon poutine with cheddar cheese, shredded chicken, diced bacon, tomato and ranch, and two different versions of the Southwest poutine – one for breakfast and one for dinner. That’s what we tried, the breakfast Southwest Poutine that came with chorizo, beans, corn, scrambled eggs, fresh avocado, avocado aioli and cilantro.
“When I was in college we took trips to Toronto, and that was my first experience with poutine at the McDonalds. For a while I went off to work for about ten years and I came back to the restaurant. That’s where my mind started moving and thinking. What dishes would I want to bring to Mid-Michigan? What’s kind of lacking and what is already here?” Henry’s Place and namesake Henry Kwok told us. “So we are a unique bar, we aren’t your standard chain restaurants. We want to be different; we want people to come out and try something that other places don’t really have and do something a little different with techniques. Poutine was one of the first things we thought of because, selfishly poutine is what I like to eat! Canadian poutine is the base with the cheese, gravy and fries. We just made a few more and tested a few more to give people a variety.”
The very first thing that seduced us was the amazing smell of the dish. Since we are in takeout mode right now the ride home was filled with an amazing smell of the southwest. By the time we got home we were ready to dig in! Our meal, even after our ten-minute drive home, remained dinner ready hot. Which was a nice surprise, especially for French fries – but we shouldn’t have been surprised at all as Henry’s Place makes most of their own food with original recipes and fresh ingredients. The diced avocado pieces were bright, the chorizo tasty and not greasy, and the fries crispy. The best part of the dish may have been the avocado aioli which was the perfect compliment to bring it all together. As a family we loved sharing this meal and look forward to trying their other poutine options.
We also had the pleasure of trying the Pepper Chicken from their neighbor, and shared family restaurant, the Asian Buffet. Getting tasty, and unique Chinese food is becoming quite the challenge for Mid-Michiganders. This dish from Asian Buffet was absolutely fantastic! The chicken was hot and delicious, and the pepper sauce was flavorful and not too spicy at all – even though it was accented with hot peppers. Henry let us in on the secret to its blend of flavors – peanut butter! The peanut butter provides the sweet and salty needed to balance out the heat. The meal was accompanied with a very tasty sticky pearl rice that one cannot duplicate in the home kitchen. If you are in the mood for Chinese, we definitely recommend Asian Buffet, and their pepper chicken in particular.
Henry’s Place is a family friendly sports pub that features a full menu, and comfortable seating. It also has a semi-private meeting space for friends, families, organizations and get togethers. They also offer a full bar and plenty of tv’s for every viewing need, all nestled in the parking lot of some of the areas must go to shopping. If you are heading out to get your staples order ahead at Henry’s Place and get the poutine to go! Classic Canadian, locally owned and served.
To learn more about Henry’s Place, view the menu, and place your orders go online at www.pubmeridian.com
Overbuying and stockpiling may cause supply chain ripple effects
LANSING, MICH. Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Gary McDowell, Michigan Retailers Association CEO William Hallan and Meijer CEO Todd Weer, Senior Vice President of Stores today responded to news that consumers may be buying larger quantities than necessary at the stores.
“Michigan has an ample supply of food products and other items. But, when shoppers panic buy products like toilet paper, paper towel and other items, it creates a ripple effect within the supply chain,” said McDowell. “Buying what your household will use for the week keeps the supply chain moving, ensures everyone has access to what they need and allows the stores to replenish shelves for your next shopping trip.”
According to McDowell, COVID-19 has changed everything about how people come together, especially with the holidays right around the corner.
“The impact of this pandemic has not been easy, and it is not over as we see rampant community spread,” he added. “One thing we can all do to help each other during this time is buying only what you need. This ensures your friends and neighbors have access to food and other necessary products during this pandemic.”
Signaling evidence of consumers starting to panic shop at levels first seen during the early months of the pandemic, Michigan Retailers Association President and CEO William Hallan urges Michiganders to limit purchases to a week’s worth of supply.
“Retailers across the state continue to work hard to restore and maintain product levels in stores to meet the demand in communities,” said Hallan. “Consumers need to know that stores, particularly grocery stores, will remain open. Consumers should plan for essentials in weekly increments to ensure that supply levels remain steady over the next few weeks. As retailers continue to do their part to keep retail environments safe to shop, we are asking consumers to do their part by limiting quantities to ensure there is enough for everyone.”
If consumers are leery about shopping in person, Hallan encourages consumers to consider using services like curbside pick-up and home delivery.
Meijer, which has 120 Supercenters and grocery stores throughout the State of Michigan, continues to focus on keeping ample supply for its customers.
“Our goal is to have everything our customers need, and our supply chain and store teams are working very hard to keep our shelves stocked during these busy times,” said Todd Weer, Senior Vice President of stores for Meijer. “As long as shoppers buy the number of items they normally would, then everyone should be able to check off the items on their grocery list when they visit the store.”
By JOHN PEPIN
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
When asked, hunters – like anglers, hikers, campers and others who enjoy the outdoors – often say the richness of their experiences in the woods is created merely by “just being out there.”
This notion, while seemingly simple, is in fact quite profound.
It may be the best attempt to put into words the peacefulness of the forest when it snows or the sweet smells of the leaves and the trees, the talking songs of the birds and the river, the warm feeling of sunshine, cold winds drifting across your face or seeing your first black bear or moose up close.
Maybe what it’s like to just sit still and listen to the woods?
Ever really try to explain to someone what the clear, starry night sky looks like, or what it feels like to see it? What about the experience of hiking a trail under hemlocks and pines, or looking down from a rocky ledge to see the shimmering lake below on a sunny afternoon? Maybe the sights and sounds of watching a campfire into the morning hours or the startling experience of flushing a grouse?
Those who try to talk or write about these things they’ve experienced will often admit their descriptions fall short, no matter how accurate they may be.
I am among them.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, it should also be said there are countless things a camera cannot capture, no matter how great the lenses, the lighting or the photo post-production tools are.
To truly capture certain outdoor experiences or some of the most important intrinsic beauty of plants, animals, places and many kinds of natural phenomena, it certainly takes more than a thousand words, or one picture.
I think the elusive, missing ingredient in all the efforts to duplicate or convey these encounters is the human experience. Whatever aspect of nature we are trying to photograph, write about or tell others about can often connect us so personally to nature, the world and the universe.
In many cases, these experiences are truly singular, personal and real – written indelibly on our souls. They will no doubt come to mind for years and years to come.
A storyteller, whether a writer, photographer or hunter, angler, skier, trapper or hiker, will never be able to truly convey the totality of those beautiful moments – no matter the medium.
I’ve found the best bet is to try to have as many of those incredible, personal outdoor experiences as I can, conceding I will never fully capture them in words or pictures.
I am reminded of very creative and capable people I’ve heard try hard to tell others about something that happened to them but eventually, they throw up their hands in futility saying, “I guess you had to be there.”
These days, even despite an uptick in participation attributed to the quarantined nature of the novel coronavirus pandemic, there are lots of people concerned about the increasing loss in the numbers of people having valuable outdoor experiences with nature.
There are consequences computers and digital technologies have created, especially when it comes to keeping many adults, and especially children, indoors or disengaged from personal and intimate experiences with the natural world.
On a recent trip to Crystal Falls in Iron County, I read a trailhead sign the Michigan Department of Natural Resources put up that I had never seen before. It’s located not more than a few steps outside the department’s field office there.
The author, whoever it was, understood this concern.
The sign titled “Planet Earth, Our Home” read:
Our earth is a very forgiving planet – to a point. Many of us know more about ‘surfing the net’ than we do of the natural resources that sustain our lives, yet we go on pretending that technology will always quench our thirst, fill our bellies and run our cars, while retaining our quality of life.
As you walk this trail use all your senses to see, hear, smell, taste and feel life, and think about in which direction you would like to see mankind travel. What can you do to make this happen?
I once had a paddler friend who likened himself to the character in Michael Martin Murphy’s song “Boy from the Country,” from his 1972 album, “Geronimo’s Cadillac.”
This friend of mine looked like a mountain man. His blond hair was worn shaggy and dirty, and his flannel shirts and blue jeans were slept in.
He talked about the animals of the forest speaking to him, his isolation from much of society and his love for paddling his canoe over the rivers and lakes of this rugged region.
Murphy – who also wrote and sang the 1975 hit “Wildfire” – wrote:
Because he called the forest brother
Because he called the earth his mother
They drove him out into the rain
Some people even said the boy from the country was insane
I think about my old friend every now and then, especially when I hear that song. I hope he’s still out there somewhere paddling his canoe silently past a beaver lodge, over a school of spawning trout and under the skies cast red by the setting sun.
I hope he’s found many more friends along his journey, people able to look beyond his gritty, disheveled exterior to glimpse the soul of nature and life in his heart.
When I picture him, I see him always paddling his canoe, heading somewhere around the river bend up ahead, looking for that next experience that will draw him even closer to nature. In my own way, I’m traveling with him, looking for the purest experiences the natural world can offer, teaching me the truths concealed in the hearts of birds and animals, knowing all the while my greatest fulfillment will always come from “just being out there.”
While COVID-19 has restricted live-audience performances this year, the College of Music is providing concertgoers the chance to experience performances through its Livestream and YouTube channels. Online options include recordings of brand new performances from beloved series and ensembles, and rebroadcasts of some of our live concerts from previous years. In addition to Joanne and Bill Church West Circle Series, other broadcasts this fall include the MSU Federal Credit Union Showcase Series and Jazz Artists and Residence, plus the new Music for Social Justice series and new Artist-Faculty Spotlight series which features popular performances from previously recorded concerts. Viewers can also experience streamed performances from a variety of MSU ensembles, including lectures by visiting artists and scholars. All events are free and open to the public.
An additional West Circle Series Concert is upcoming for broadcast later this fall. “Celebrating Ludwig Von Beethoven, 250 Years” will honor the legendary composer for his ever-present impact on the music world. The concert features MSU musicians and was rescheduled from March due to the pandemic. The broadcast will also premiere on the MSU College of Music Livestream Channel, Monday, December 7, at 7:30 p.m.