Whitmer bans all gatherings of 250+ people to limit coronavirus spread 

By: - March 13, 2020 11:55 am

The NCAA Basketball Tournament has already been canceled, along with many big public events due to COVID-19. Now Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is banning all gatherings of. 250 people or more through April 6. | Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Starting Friday evening, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is prohibiting all events and assemblages over 250 people until April 6 to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Executive Order 2020-5 also closes all K-12 school buildings to students from Monday until April 5. Childcare facilities will remain open during the statewide shutdown, whether they are attached to schools or free standing. 

“This is about protecting the most people we can from the spread of coronavirus,” said Whitmer. “My administration will continue to do everything we can to mitigate the spread, and to ensure our children, families, and businesses have the support they need during this time. We are going to get through this, but we must be flexible and take care of each other.” 

Gatherings of over 250 people in industrial or manufacturing locations, mass transit or grocery stores are exempt from the prohibition. 

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There are 12 presumptive positive COVID-19 cases in Michigan, as of this story’s publication. On Thursday night, Whitmer announced that all public, private and boarding schools would be closed to students from Monday through April 5.

“Prohibiting large assemblages is the smart thing to do to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “It’s crucial that everyone in Michigan follow these orders and make smart choices that will slow the spread of the virus, including practicing good hygiene and social distancing.”

A violation of the order will result in a misdemeanor, according to the executive order. 

COVID-19 symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus. Patients with confirmed infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath.

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The best prevention for viruses, such as influenza, the common cold or COVID-19 is to:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home, and avoid contact with others.

Coronavirus information can be found on the DHHS website or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention website.

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.