Taking preventative measures

EDITOR’S NOTE: Information in this column may have changed as the column deadline was Wednesday.

Like the rest of the world, Alger County businesses and establishments are taking preventative measures against the novel viral disease COVID-19 – also known as “coronavirus,” which the World Health Organization deemed a pandemic two weeks ago.

As of March 18, there have been approximately 200,000 cases of people infected by coronavirus and nearly 8,000 deaths attributed to the disease worldwide. Usually a slower time of the year for retail stores, photos of emptied toilet paper and soap aisles in U.S. stores have spread around social media like wildfire as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to urge everyone to wash their hands and stay home if they can.

Two weeks ago, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer mandated the closure of all K-12 schools in the state from March 16 to April 5. Whitmer’s order also temporarily prohibits any events and shared-space assemblages of more than 250 people. Another executive order Whitmer signed last week – which is in effect until March 30 – barred dining in at restaurants, cafes, coffee houses, bars, taverns, brewpubs, and distilleries. Restaurants may allow five people inside at a time to pick up orders as they stay six feet apart from each other.

The order also calls for the temporary closure of clubs, movie theaters, indoor and outdoor performance venues, gymnasiums, fitness centers, recreation centers, indoor sports facilities, indoor exercise facilities, exercise studios, spas and casinos.

As ordered by Gov. Whitmer, all Alger County schools are closed until April 6. Alger County banks and credit unions urge customers to take advantage of eBanking or calling the branches. Munising Memorial Hospital and Baycare Medical Center have banned patient visitation until further notice. While some restaurants have temporarily closed their doors, several are offering takeout. Visit their websites, social media pages or call for more information.

We’re also taking preventative measures at the Alger County Chamber of Commerce/Greater Munising Bay Partnership and Munising Downtown Development Authority office and have decided to close our doors until April 6. Staff will work remotely and regularly check and respond to messages.

Be safe and take care of one another, friends. Support small businesses by purchasing gift certificates and products online if available.

For updated information about coronavirus, visit the following pages:

CDC: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

WHO: www.who.int/…/novel-coronavir…/events-as-they-happen

State of Michigan: www.michigan.gov/coronavirus

Editor’s note: Jaymie Depew is the communications and special project assistant for the Alger County Chamber of Commerce/Greater Munising Bay Partnership for Commerce Development, Munising Downtown Development Authority and Munising Visitors Bureau.