/Massachusetts, Michigan governors issue stay-at-home guidance

Massachusetts, Michigan governors issue stay-at-home guidance

The governor of Michigan on Monday issued a statewide stay-at-home order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker meanwhile announced a stay-at-home “advisory” for the state’s nearly seven million residents.

Both governors said that all nonessential businesses must close.

The order in Michigan is effective at 12:01 a.m. on March 24 and will last for at least the next three weeks, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a news release.

“In just 13 days, we’ve gone from 0 to over 1,000 COVID-19 cases,” Whitmer said in the release. “This is an unprecedented crisis that requires all of us working together to protect our families and our communities.”

She continued: “The most effective way we can slow down the virus is to stay home. I know this will be hard, but it will be temporary. If we all come together, get serious, and do our part by staying home, we can stay safe and save lives.”

The restrictions in Massachusetts will go into effect Tuesday at noon and be in effect through at least April 7.

“These aggressive social distancing measures put in place today are designed to give public experts the time they need to ramp up additional steps that must be taken to effectively push back the virus,” Baker said, adding that other parts of the world have shown this is possible.

Baker drew a distinction between his stay-at-home advisory and shelter-in-place mandates.

“I do not believe I can or should order U.S. citizens to be confined to their home for days on end,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense from a public health point of view, and it’s not realistic.”

He urged people to avoid any “unnecessary activities” and said they could still go to the grocery store, pharmacy and “of course, take a walk around the block or at the park.”

Grocery stores, pharmacies and other businesses that provide essential goods and services will continue to operate in both states.

Whitmer’s statement defines essential employees as those who work in health care, public health and safety, law enforcement and grocery stores, among others.

Similar sweeping mandates have been made in other states, including California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

In California, many people flocked to beaches and parks over the weekend, prompting Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to announce more than 75,000 acres of parks and trails were closed indefinitely in and around the Los Angeles region.

“This weekend we saw too many people packing beaches, trails and parks,” Garcetti tweeted, in part. “That doesn’t mean gather elsewhere. This is serious. Stay home and save lives.”

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