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Changes underway in COVID-19 crisis

MARQUETTE — Agencies continue to make changes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Michigan Department of Education announced it will request a federal waiver of statutory and regulatory requirements in the Child Nutrition Program in accordance with federal guidance.

The waiver would allow MDE to maximize the reimbursement rates to support increased menu, supply, transportation and labor options for sponsors that may be experiencing in access to food and other resources, offcials said.

MDE is requesting the waiver on behalf of all Child Nutrition Program sponsors determined to be in good standing in Michigan. It seeks the discretion to reimburse all U.S. Department of Agriculture Unanticipated School Closure Summer Food Service Program meals at the self-preparation or rural rate for all Child Nutrition Program sponsors continuing to serve meals that have been affected by the state of emergency.

Child Nutrition Program sponsors do not need to request exceptions from MDE.

The Michigan Attorney General’s Office is experiencing challenges as well.

After the attorney general’s consumer protection intake lines were flooded with phone calls related to violations of the state’s new rules implemented as a result of COVID-19, Attorney General Dana Nessel is providing guidance on how to file complaints about individuals and businesses that aren’t complying with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders.

“These are unprecedented times and my office is working with Gov. Whitmer’s office, local law enforcement agencies and other parties to ensure these executive orders are being followed,” Nessel said in a news release. “The orders are in place to protect the public health and welfare of Michigan’s residents, and consequences will result to those found to be in willful violation.

“By working together through this public health emergency and staying home, we can help slow the spread of COVID-19 across the state.”

The consumer protection intake team will continue to accept consumer reports of price gouging and scams. These can be made online at Michigan.gov, Department of Attorney General, or by calling the office’s tip line at 877-765-8388. For other violations, residents are asked to contact their local law enforcement agencies.

Even the outdoors changes

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources usually puts out a weekly fishing report, but has temporarily suspended it since, it said, more critical information needs to be shared.

That said, it still urges people to get out and fish, but only if they’re feeling well and to frequently wash hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer. It also recommends practicing social distancing of at least six feet and rolling down a vehicle’s windows for a bit of air flow if anglers are driving to and from their fishing spots.

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