Stay Home, Stay Safe

As of 12:01 this morning, Governor Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order took effect. Most people refer to the situation as “Shelter in Place”, which we’ve been hearing in the news for days now. These are not the same thing! “Stay at Home” closes non-essential businesses and limits gatherings to 10 or less people. “Shelter in Place” means stay home unless it’s critically necessary you leave. In this post, I’ll try to explain exactly what you can and cannot do under the order for the next three weeks. In future posts, I’ll explore more things you can do to pass the time while you’re staying home.

First, the order states “individuals may only leave their home or place of residence under very limited circumstances, and they must adhere to social distancing measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when they do so, including remaining at least six feet from people from outside the individual’s household to the extent feasible under the circumstances.”

Great! What are the circumstances?

“All public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring among persons outside a single household are temporarily prohibited. People may leave the house to perform for limited, necessary purposes, and may engage in outdoor activities like walking, hiking, running, cycling, or any other recreational activity, consistent with remaining at least six feet from people from outside a person’s household and with other restrictions imposed by prior executive orders.”

Please stop! What does that MEAN?!? I know. It’s hard. Let me try to explain.

You CAN: Go for walks, hikes, bicycle/motorcycle/car rides. Yard work is perfectly acceptable. Please, walk your dog, and if your pet needs a vet visit take them! Picking up prescriptions is fine, but it’s best if you choose the drive thru. Picking up food or having it delivered is also fine. If you need gas, go get some. Grocery shopping is fine, but if you can arrange for curbside pickup that seems best (personal note here: NO HOARDING). If you or a loved one needs medical attention, by all means go to the hospital or a med center! Only caveat is always to maintain a distance of at least six feet from other people if you can. And the usual rules apply: cover coughs and sneezes, wash your hands, don’t touch your face, etc.

You CANNOT: Get together with people who don’t live in your house (or who aren’t staying there for the duration). Take public transit unless your job is considered “essential” and you have no other way to get there. Keep your business open unless it is a grocery store, pharmacy, medical center, or other similar important type. Throw a party. Arrange play dates for your kids. Have a meeting in person. Go to your friend’s house or have them over to yours.

Under this order all businesses are prohibited from requiring their workers leave their homes, unless those workers are necessary to sustain life or conduct minimum basic operations. Businesses must ensure those workers who are crucial be kept at least six feet apart and are able to practice other social distancing measures.

Who will be working?

“Critical infrastructure workers” are the ONLY ones who will still be working. That means those who work in health care/public health; law enforcement, public safety, and first responders; food and agriculture; energy; water and wastewater; transportation and logistics; public works; communications and IT, including news media; other community-based government operations and essential functions; critical manufacturing; hazardous materials handling; financial services; chemical supply chains and safety; defense industrial base; child care workers, designated suppliers and distribution centers; insurance workers (unless they can work from home); organizations who provide food, shelter, and other necessities of life for needy individuals.

Put shortly: You can go to the hospital or a medical center. You can go to the pharmacy. You can go to the grocery store. Your utilities will continue to work. There will be TV, and there will be radio. The government has not shut down, although non-essential parts have temporarily closed.

While we are not under “shelter in place” and we are not under “quarantine”, if it is at all possible for you to behave as if you are, this may well last a shorter time than hoped. If you don’t need to leave your property, don’t do it! If you do leave, keep your distance from people! If we all work together to flatten the curve, the curve will have no choice but to flatten. And when it finally does, then we can start getting back to normal.

Final thoughts

Please don’t be that guy. You know the guy. “Nobody’s gonna tell me I can’t go (wherever)!”

Yes, they are. They can. They have. Stay home. All you’re doing is extending how long this goes on. If you play by the rules instead, three weeks may well be the end of it. Who knows, she may even rescind the order early if we all do as we’re told! But let’s not do anything to extend it further, OK?

Michigan is currently in the top five US States for number of confirmed COVID-19 infections. This is NOT an honour we ever wanted, we don’t want to keep it, and we certainly don’t want to go any higher on the list!

Symptoms and What to do about them

Patients with confirmed infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

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

  • If you think you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your health care provider. If you do not have a health care provider, call the nearest hospital.
  • 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.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others when in a public setting.

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus

Be safe. Be well. STAY HOME. And as always… WASH YOUR HANDS!