Stay at home, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says as coronavirus cases soar

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a state stay-at-home order this morning.

Related: What Michigan’s coronavirus stay-at-home order means for residents

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday ordered Michigan residents to stay home unless they work in a “critical” industry or engage in permitted activities, escalating the ongoing fight against a deadly coronavirus spreading across the state and country. 

“This is a test unlike any we’ve seen before,” Whitmer said in an 11 a.m. news conference. “We are up to it. We will get through this. But be smart, take every precaution and do your part.”

The “stay home, stay safe” order takes effect one minute after midnight and will last at least three weeks, through April 13. People who do leave home for permitted reasons must adhere to social distancing measures recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The eight-page order, as signed by Whitmer, begins with a warning that it  “must be construed broadly to prohibit in-person work that is not necessary to sustain or protect life.”

But the order includes several exemptions for residents who leave home for work that is necessary to protect life or conduct “minimum basic operations,” including tasks to protect the value of company inventory or take care of animals. Businesses that employ “critical infrastructure workers,” including the health care industry,  can generally continue in-person operations under the order. 

The order also includes an exemption for “operations necessary to enable transactions that support the work of a business’s or operation’s critical infrastructure workers,” but does not elaborate on what that means.

Companies will have until the end of the month to designate critical infrastructure workers and those needed to continue basic minimum operations.


grocery photo

Shoppers line up at a Kroger in West Bloomfield on Monday morning. (Bridge photo by Joel Kurth)

“I would anticipate that there would be fines associated with not doing that, and they will be shut,” she said. “We have a moment to stem the crisis that we see unfolding before us, and it’s going to take all of us to take this action seriously.:” 

The order allows residents to leave the home for outdoor activity, including walking, hiking, running and biking, provided they maintain a 6-foot distance from one another.

Whitmer made clear that pharmacies and other important businesses will not close, and restaurants can continue with carry-out and delivery orders.

“Your grocery stores will be open,” Whitmer said. “I have checked on our whole supply chain for food, and it will be accessible. Do not panic. Do not hoard.”

The order comes as Michigan’s coronavirus case count continues to rise. As of Monday morning, there were 1,232 confirmed cases and 15 known deaths in the state, according to Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive.

"If we do nothing, very rough models estimate that the number of cases in Michigan could increase five-fold in the next week," Khaldun said. "We are acting right now to decrease that number."

“The current trajectory that we're on looks a lot like Italy,” Whitmer said, referencing the European hotspot with more than 53,000 cases and 4,827 deaths as of Sunday.

The order reflects recommendations from Michigan business groups, whose leaders urged against overly broad action and spent the weekend discussing the parameters of a stay-home mandate with the Whitmer administration, said Rich Studely, president and CEO of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. 

Governors in at least eight states had already adopted some form of a shelter in place order, and some of the early orders were "blunt instruments" adopted out of necessity, Studley said. 

"I think one of the things that's helpful to the governor and our state is that, as challenging as the situation is here in Michigan, we've had the ability to learn from governors in states on the west coast and east coast where the coronavirus hit earlier and has been more severe," Studley said. 

Weekend conversations between business groups and the Whitmer administration included how to define essential industries that should be exempt from the order and how quickly certain businesses would be able to shut down in a safe fashion, Studley said. 

The chamber of commerce will urge members to "fully comply," he said. 

Sandy Baruah, CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, said business’ ability to self-designate their supply chain and non-essential businesses’ ability to designate critical employees will allow basic operations to continue and may make it easier for the economy to rebound once the crisis is over. 

Brian Calley, president of the Small Business Association of Michigan, said the provisions that help businesses continue basic functions. 

“This doesn’t compromise [the public health response,] it makes it stronger,” he said. For example, a payroll company ensuring people continue to get paid in multiple industries, “that’s an enhancement. That protects the public health and ensures that there’s not undue disruptions to the things that still have to happen.”

The order uses federal guidelines to identify critical infrastructure workers exempt from the stay-home mandate, including those in health care and public health, law enforcement, food and agriculture, energy, water, transportation, "critical manufacturing" and chemical supply chains.

Michigan is also exempting workers in areas like child care and certain suppliers or distributors that serve critical industries.

Riley Beggin contributed to this report

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Mon, 03/23/2020 - 9:11am

Urge your national representatives to do the same!

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 10:06am

WOW!! She look sick!!!! With the backing of Michigan Governor the MI AG and the Dept of Health, Ferndale, MI is having a untested for the viruses contractors UMS 844-741-6248 going from house to house to replace 3 year old RF water meters and to inspect our homes without a warrant!!!
To spread the coronavirus virus?
Both my wife and I are 70 Years old and have health problems. I am a disable veterans. And was in the hospital for 18 days last fall with clasped lungs! I am on two inhalers to help me breathing. This was told to the Ferndale water Dept. and ask them to postpone the inspection until the national emergency is over!! They do not care they need to inspect my home to make sure I am not stealing their water!!! (248) 546-2374
I was told that If we did not let them in to change the water meter and to inspect my home they would turn off our water and condemned our home!
And it seems that Ferndale has the backing Indivisible Michigan who are blocking any post to the truth of what the governor is up to!!!!

Flint all over again!!!!

Austin Richards
Mon, 03/23/2020 - 10:08am

Shows who's really in control, " the powerful chamber of commerce." First they said no to the order and it didn't happen. Then they caved and are allowing "the governor" to do a lesser form they approve of.

Ben W. Washburn
Mon, 03/23/2020 - 10:21am

Among the things that we should learn from Seattle and New York City is noted by several commentators in this morning's New York Times. The "stay home" order can easily propel the epidemic, rather than contain it. It is not much of a threat to folks under 60. But, if grandparents try to take care of their grandchildren, in order to enable their parents to go to work, the children become vectors for spreading the disease to their grandparents. If, the anxious middle-aged keep visiting their aging parents out concern, they are likely to carry the virus to them. The crux is to find ways to enable the elderly to self-isolate for the duration of the epidemic. Based upon the experience so far in Seattle and New York City, an on-going shut-down will instead create an economic and health disaster.

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 10:23am

Unlawful and illegal. How much more will the sheeple take?

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 11:11am

National emergency, pandemic; public health law trumps individual rights.

Not unlawful and illegal (repetitive redundant, much?). Absolutely necessary to save many, many lives.

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 9:05pm

Have you not heard of the 1st Amendment?
The order is unlawful. Illegal. And must be disobeyed for the sake of the Republic.
If you disagree, go read up on the history of the United States.
Go read up on how many infectious diseases people died from even 50 years ago.
And during those times back then, We The People pressed on and made this great world we live in today.
Now, idiot bureaucrats are tearing it all down in the name of "safety".

Wake Up
Tue, 03/24/2020 - 9:28am

Supreme Court disagrees. Look up compelling state interests.

Al Churchill
Tue, 03/24/2020 - 4:23pm

The First Amendment has never been an absolute. Justice Holmes declared an inability to shout "fire" in a crowded theater and the right of assembly is curtailed at the point that public safety is in question.
Your "idiot bureaucrats" are, generally, decent public civil servants, who qualify for their jobs through testing . They have a responsibility to the public interest rather than any partisan politician and, historically, have served that purpose immensely better than those who served under the "spoils system" that preceded the Civil Service Act.

Are u really th...
Sat, 04/04/2020 - 1:32pm

And when you get it, then you'll want to be the first to get a hospital bed too, huh?

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 6:02pm

Born and raised Red White Blue. Amen

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 10:35am

The Chamber of Commerce continues to disgrace itself with it's emphasis on business over the lives of people. God forbid consumerism take a breather so that lives are saved. We should all support businesses, especially local, once this ends. However, the immediate priority should be human lives.

Ben W. Washburn
Mon, 03/23/2020 - 10:27pm

Get a grip. I'm normally anti-Trump. But, this morning, he tweets a serious question: What, if the cure is worse than the disease? If you have any clue about the consumer economics upon which our "American Way of Life" is based, that's a fair question. We had best listen to the Chambers of Commerce; their businesses undergird this consumer economy. Once mainline consumers no longer have the income to maintain this economy, the whole waffle implodes, and we are faced with decades of hopefully recovering. If we sink into a deep recession, thousands of different lives will be thrown away, and one of those thow-aways may be our democratic way of goverance. Several years ago, the Chinese ambassador to the UN was asked what he thought the French Revolution meant for today, and he answered: It's still too early to tell.

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 7:52am

Ben, another Matt has popped up here! Gotta come up with another handle! I'll put it on the list of things to do while hanging around the house. You are right, when solutions are proposed and evaluated too few ask, compared to what? You are one of a few cogent reasonable liberals here!

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 9:32am

No lockdowns in South Korea because they tested, contained from the beginning. No one in charge here. Free enterprise, volunteerism, charity are doing what the president should be doing and the US will endure great loss of lives and another economic depression. Bail out the corporations and reduce social entitlements, sound like a GOP dream.

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 10:42am

A, States are having very different experiences with the Chinese virus. I know those on the left love making big top down, one size fits all orders and pronouncements and can't imagine not doing so. Unfortunately, our governor wants to try to make political hay rather than use her our judgement and govern. But of course, it's then easier to blame the President if things don't go her way. Reading summaries of the proposed bills where do you see cuts in benes let alone if you work for a corporation you may be glad they stay in business??

middle of the mit
Fri, 04/03/2020 - 1:08am

Matt, YOu wouldn't be contradicting something you posted on After this post, would ya?

My bet?

middle of the mit
Fri, 04/03/2020 - 1:06am

Have to put this post here just so I have you on record BEFORE THE REST OF redstaters get in line!

Your name is Ben Washburn.

It's on record now.

Do our elderly need to work for the rest of us so that we can get the economy going again?

As Matt says; "Classy"!

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 11:03am

She cannot do her job and reflects badly on our state. If she need3ed to take action earlier this was on her. The command chain goes from local government to state THAN to Federal. This is insane her attacks on the federal government,

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 9:35am

That's not how we won WW2,

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 11:16am

SheRa once again makes it political instead of being thankful to what's available to hospitals. The mask makers are going full tilt. Do your research before making generalized comments!

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 9:44am

Hospitals are already overwhelmed and acute beds are very limited. There is no way to make this not political. We have to decide how to make and distribute crucial supplies.

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 11:35pm

Omg SheRa that’s a good one in a leather vest . She’s a follower not a leader. Why doesn’t she come in with real medical science experts instead of figurehead medical director like other stars and even fed does. We have infectious disease specialists, immunologists, microbiologists, Reserach pharmacogists, and many other PhdProfessors and industry doctors and scientists from Um, MSU, WSU and many leading med science industry experts to hear from

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 11:22am

Arm yourself

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 9:34am

Are you hoarding toilet paper? Use cash instead. It's cheaper.

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 11:52am

"Scientists Warned China Was a “Time Bomb” for Novel Coronavirus Outbreak in 2007" Maybe this pandemic will teach us to listen more closely to what scientists are saying. It will certainly show us the impact of reduced pollution from fossil fuels, and that we need to leave wild animals and their habitat alone. Perhaps it will be part of the solution to the global weather crisis we are looking eye to eye with.

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 11:52am

There needs to be a list of essential businesses!!! Everyone thinks they are essential especially given the fact you let restaurant for carry out stay open. If we are all in our homes who’s using this? Carry out is not essential!

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 11:49pm

Isn’t it amazing some of the oddest and businesses that you’d never honk are essential are designated essential. And isn’t it odd or maybe it isn’t that most of the major union jobs schools and many government jobs other than police fire postal delivery are not and yet they are of not in fear of getting paid and losing their job and insurance and get paid well just saw teo of my auto worker family’s pack up like they were going on vacation just an early vacation of sorts to there up north more remote cottages where the spread of virus is less while ate nurses and some dovtors are taking care of their elders and others risking themselves and perhaps their own families and also complaining how their fun and activities are inconvenienced This brings out the brst in some but also the worst in what seems much more of

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 12:39pm

She came right out of the gate lying about Trump. I expected that though.

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 9:37am

Did she say he's not a stable genius? Trump is the new Hoover of our times!

Concerned citizen
Mon, 03/23/2020 - 2:02pm

Do you think there is a chance the media and government will begin producing positive, more fact based, knowledgeable information as it pertains to the coronavirus or will the fear tactics and propaganda continue until they push society in to a civil or world war? Why are the facts not being shared? It seems so easy to me. Am I misunderstanding the entirety of this pandemic?

Kevin Grand
Mon, 03/23/2020 - 6:05pm

Never going to happen.

It doesn't promote the narrative that the media is attempting to promote if they were to report things like out of the total number of people tested, how many people actually tested negative.

Or, even if those symptoms were nothing more than the flu.

The states overreacting and pushing the panic button, are all ran by democrats (DeWine is really a RINO and not really a republican). Keeping people in a perpetual state of fear and anxiety is working beyond their wildest dreams promoting their philosophy.

Until April 13th when the adults in the room (Michigan Legislature) puts an end to all of this nonsense.

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 11:24am

Yes, you are misunderstanding the entirely of this pandemic. These are not fear tactics. This is deadly serious. Help me understand the positive news you think is being withheld from us? There is no positive news at the moment. It is getting geometrically worse.

Here are the facts from BBC News last night: it took 67 days for Covid-19's the global infection to hit 100,000 people. It took (approximately) 32 days for it to hit 200,000. FOUR days later it was at 300,000 infected globally. This is how viruses work. This is still so new, there are too many unknowns at the moment. If we do not all do our part and stay home, we will have no hope.

The bubonic plague killed 25% of the population in Europe and lasted for years. The 1918 Spanish Influenza infected 500 million people and killed 20 to 50 million people.

Kevin Grand
Wed, 03/25/2020 - 7:36am

You want examples, Rose?

Here's another one you won't see reported (I'm pressed for time this morning).

There are two drugs that have shown promising results in treating the Huwan Virus: Hydroxychloroquine or Chloroquine.

Guess who just issued an order yesterday evening to restrict Michiganians access to those promising treatments?

If you answered the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (who coincidentally reports to Gov. Whitmer), you'd be right.

Yet, another story you won't see reported in The Bridge.

OABTW, the frequency of easily communicable viruses going around the planet happens far more frequently that has been widely reported in the media. (and without the overkill reporting that we've seen here with Wuhan).

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 2:11pm

So are home improvement stores considered essential? Lowe's, Mendard's,Home Depot. Other states like NY appear to be allowing them to remain open, but see nothing in Whitmer's order. What about Meijer and Walmart which are not strictly grocery stores?

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 10:52am

Maybe she'll have the state police sit at the checkout lanes to examine each shoppers cart to determine the essentialness their purchases and then arrest those not complying?

Bryon Holsing
Mon, 03/23/2020 - 3:41pm

With all respects to U governor Whitmer please come to Wayne county Oakland County or Macomb County and see how the people are acting people are up and down the streets people are gathering and social events people are going to the stores parks not keeping their distance if you’re going to do a lockdown why don’t we do a lockdown I hate to say like China or Italy we are at that point And please stop blaming our president or the federal government this is your choice for our state and you have done nothing. The little bit you have closed has not slowed nothing down. Please come on over to the Tri county Area Detroit included and see for your self or are you afraid of being exposed. The only way I see it close everything and designated one area out at a time to be able to go out to shop and get gas and everything like that. You say our medical field needs help they cannot get help if you are not going to make people stay at home and I hate to say our new or younger generation does not take this serious and you are not putting no fear into anybody you are trying to please us by downplaying this look at the United States look at the world this is just the beginning are you going to help us or are you going to slowly close things down until we do run out of Venterlators. People are scared and we should be but we need Leader ship not somebody trying to sugarcoat things from a concerned citizen in the Tri-County area

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 5:06pm

Auto industry considered essential?

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 6:10pm

Its very important to stress stay at home does not mean you're allowed to visit friends and family at their homes! My parents have had hard time understanding this fact. Some even laugh it off as if it does not apply to them. Gov. Whitmer needs to clarify and make it simple to understand!

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 6:45pm

What do people do when a business does not follow executive orders and shut down. There are several factories in Evart & Reed City Michigan that are not following these orders.

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 8:45pm

Before blaming the federal government I wish our state and local leadership would explain what they are unable to handle themselves. Now is not the time for political rhetoric. If our elected officials can’t do the job it’s time to elect someone. Who can.

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 8:59pm

Idiot barbie obviously has not heard of the 1st Amendment.
People, you have the right to peacefully assemble and no one can stop you.
This order is illegal and unlawful.
I'll be violating it... Daily.

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 12:14am

how can report a business that isnt complying?

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 12:32am

How about instead of reporting the business that "isn't complying", you instead go do us all a favor and drown yourself.

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 9:18am

I have been making a list of things I am grateful for. I am incredibly grateful that I live in a state with a sensible, thoughtful leader who values life - all life, including those who are over age 60. I am also grateful that I don't live in in Texas. (As someone who does not have grandchildren, who am I supposed to die for?)

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 12:33am

You're an idiot. Go get coronavirus.

Janice Fulkerson
Tue, 03/24/2020 - 10:31am

If businesses like Morbark over here in Winn, with hundreds of employees traveling in from all over the state on a daily basis to work -- stopping at all of your gas stations and convenience stores along the way -- don't close down, this isn't going to get any better. They make wood chippers, for God's sake, and are claiming that they're essential. Wood chippers? Really? We can't go without wood chippers for a few weeks? This is a small rural area. Hundreds are going to be infected by April 1st.

Ryan Stephan
Tue, 03/24/2020 - 11:06am

Are golf courses still open, I drove by some today and saw people playing.

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 11:50am

My company is using th excuse that they made some medical equipment sometimes to say they are essencial. They are not and putting me and all my fellow employees at risk so they can keep making parts for other companies. There is nothing essencial being made that has anything to do with the current situation. I was going to make a formal complaint but I don't want them to know who is making the complaint because they are a huge company. If anyone official reads this investigate Parker Hannifin in richland michigan. It is not essencial for them to stay open during the stay at home order!

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 6:48pm

There is a HVAC manufacturer in Kalamazoo that has deemed their equipment as essential when they provide none of the stuff listed in this article. Whitmer’s order is to vague and a lot of manufactures are not following it and forcing their employees to work

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 9:00pm

There are golf courses all over the state of Michigan, like Monroe ,Ann Arbor they are still opening the public and bringing in people from different cities . We the families in these cities do not know if these people are coming in contaminated using our stores in the city using the golf course carts, using the bathrooms, exchanging money. I feel these need to be closed, I am a lover of golf. BUT I still feel it's dangerous. Filling our hospitals with more people thank you

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 10:44am

How do you report a non essential business that is still up and running

gary taylor
Wed, 03/25/2020 - 1:50pm

This buffoon (Whitmer)is doing harm that will last far into the future, far exceeding the damage done by the C-19 Virus. Her ragtag ill-conceived mindless restrictions on people's quality of life and ability to move about and to earn their livelihood are causing deep wounds that will linger and some folks will not recover. Like her failed .45 cent gas tax her vindictive restricted are aimed at the middle and lower-income families. Those with less say so in the world and those who will find it difficult more difficult to recover, and may never recover Americans left to run their own lives will fix this problem with the virus, not some lightweight bureaucrat. I am from Michigan but live in Utah now. I am shocked at how passively Michiganders are taking these draconian measures that are wreaking havoc on their lives. Not one bit of peaceful Civil Disobedience, I thought they were made of stouter stuff than. Whitmer's weak understanding of the Virus and the human immune system are obvious. This mixed with lack of and creativity and her cowardice have brought her to this blithering idiot style solution. The cure will be worse than the disease here folks. You best get out and stand up for yourselves.

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 7:32pm

I urge Michigan Government to allow ALL state workers to work from home or take leave that does not account towards their leave accrual. I am able to stay home, however, I have many friends that work for the SOM and are having to go in to cover frivolous activities such as mail. These are the lowest paid state workers who are having to put themselves at risk to get mail when there are NO higher level workers in the buildings to do anything with it. I know the Governor values State Workers, but I urge her to really think about what she deems essential. When she says 'basic operations', we need to think about how important some of these tasks are and get as many people home and safe. All it does to have these people go to work is risking them bringing it home to people who are at home. We should be making arrangements with FedEx, UPS, and USPS on a way to stop mail to the SOM buildings and shut them down. We are the heart of downtown Lansing, we can't risk our SOM workers.

The Next Generation
Thu, 03/26/2020 - 1:09am

Dear Boomers,

You produced children who parented the most useless generation in a century - Us millenials. Though it may be partially our parents fault, they couldn't have become useless helicopter parents without your you.

Social security? Joke. The end of an area. Good riddance. Reboot time.

Thu, 03/26/2020 - 2:29pm

I have an essential letter. While going to and from work I have seen a truck pulling a boat to the nearby lake, a tru green truck working in a yard, motorcycle groups out riding and campers running down the highway. What is stay at home supposed to accomplish?

Thu, 03/26/2020 - 2:35pm

I have an essential personnel letter. I have seen truck pulling boats to nearby lake, motorcycles riding in groups,campers running down the highway and parking lots full of cars at non-essential stores. Who thought this stay at home thing was going to work?

Thu, 03/26/2020 - 4:09pm

In an interview on Tuesday Whitmer said about Trump's hope that things can start to get better by Easter “I think it’s incredible dangerous that someone with his platform and access to all of the information that he has would make such a statement to be honest and I am concerned that the off the cuff statements will really undermine our ability to protect people,” . Easter is April 12. Whitmer's Stay at home order ends April 13. Will that one day make the difference or is she just criticizing the president?

Thu, 03/26/2020 - 4:27pm

Anyone one know about road trips? Packing a cooler, driving, finding a roadside park? It's not stated in the order.

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 12:36am

The irony here is that in addition to willfully violating this order on a daily basis, I am also driving a car with no license plate because the secretary of state literally closed the day after I bought my car. They let me make an "appointment" for nearly a month from now.
Face it, guys. Coronavirus is a joke and our governor is a total dummy. I wonder how much time she spends every day playing with makeup in her dressing room. Such a freaking joke.

Tue, 04/14/2020 - 12:17pm

Conservative frustrations with the perceived overreach of state and local governments that have enacted social-distancing measures are not new—on Monday, President Donald Trump erroneously declared that he can supersede stay-at-home orders in order to “reopen” the country whenever he chooses. But an online misinformation campaign targeting Whitmer’s order has scattered increasingly deranged theories to the wind, with senior Republican officials and right-wing commentators amplifying the message. I'll stand with the Governor who shows actual leadership as opposed to the GOP who are desperate to regain Michigan voters in place of protecting them.