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Stay-at-home order extended

A garage door in Chocolay Township shares a message of hope. (Photo submitted by Carol Margrif)

MARQUETTE — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday extended Michigan’s stay-at-home order just over two additional weeks, through June 12, also keeping closed theaters, gyms and other places of public accommodation at least until that time.

She also extended her emergency declaration through June 19.

“While the data shows that we are making progress, we are not out of the woods yet. If we’re going to lower the chance of a second wave and continue to protect our neighbors and loved ones from the spread of this virus, we must continue to do our part by staying safer at home,” Whitmer said in a statement.

She announced the steps the same day bars and restaurants in northern Michigan were allowed to reopen after a two-month shutdown because of coronavirus restrictions.

The region has not been hit as hard with COVID-19 as other areas of Michigan.

The owner of Brady’s Bar in Traverse City had a message for people who are thinking of making a road trip: Stay away from her business.

“We deserve to feel safe and I would like to keep my staff and customers as safe as I can, and I’m asking that people from downstate don’t come in until they’re quarantined or their areas are also opened up,” said Nolen Sleder.

Father’s Day Antique Auto Show canceled

The Michigan Iron Industry Museum in Negaunee Township has canceled its annual Father’s Day Antique Car Show in accordance with Whitmer’s orders and the Department of Health and Human Service’s recommendations designed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to a release from the museum.

Updates on other summer events will be posted on the museum’s Facebook page and its web page at www.michigan.gov/ironindustrymuseum.

Calumet Pasty Fest

canceled

Main Street Calumet’s annual Pasty Fest 2020 has been canceled.

According to a release from Main Street Calumet, the event: “requires months of planning on the part of committee members, vendors, performers, and other volunteers. An event of this size now requires the state reach Stage 6 of the Michigan Safe Start plan, ‘post-pandemic,’ not knowing when that stage will be met leaves our summer events in limbo. While some smaller events can be pulled together quickly, Pasty Fest doesn’t fall into that category.

“The commitments of time and financial resources to host events is significant and expending those reserves without confidence that we will be able to recoup them is more risk then our organization can bear. While the 2020 Pasty Fest is canceled, we are working on alternative programming to ensure a fun and safe summer for residents and visitors.”

Questions can be directed to leah@mainstreetcalumet.com or 906-337-6246. For more information about Main Street Calumet, visit www.mainstreetcalumet.com.

Marquette temporarily suspends some permitting

processes

The city of Marquette will be temporarily suspending the special land use land development code permitting process for outdoor food and beverage service, which is otherwise required by the city’s land development code.

This temporary suspension will allow for these businesses to establish outdoor seating areas on their own property to expand seating capacity, city officials said in an announcement.

The executive orders that went into effect Friday require these establishments to undertake several precautionary measures, specifically by providing room for safe social distancing and by limiting their seating capacity to 50% of its normal seating.

This suspension has been established using the emergency powers found in Chapter 20 of the Marquette City Code and will continue until the executive order is no longer active.

Marquette will also waive sidewalk cafe and outdoor merchandise display fees for all applications received before 4:30 p.m. on June 30.

The permits, which are issued under Chapter 12 of the city code, allow for businesses in the Downtown Development Authority to provide outdoor seating or sales areas on the public sidewalk adjacent to their establishment.

City officials urge the public that all activity must still follow the mandates found in the executive orders, as well as any requirements from the Marquette County Health Department.

All streets and public ways must remain open for traffic and ingress and egress for public safety must be maintained during this time, a city press release states.

The city is taking this action as a supplement to Whitmer’s recent Executive Orders 2020-91 and 2020-92, which allow for the limited reopening of certain sectors of the state economy such as retail businesses, taverns, breweries and dine-in restaurants throughout the Upper Peninsula.

Michigan National Guard completes tests at U.P. long-term care

facilities

The Michigan National Guard has joined a collaborative effort with the Department of Health and Human Services and the State Emergency Operations Center to assist with voluntary COVID-19 testing for staff and residents at the request of long-term care facilities across Michigan, according to a press release from the State Emergency Operations Center.

To date:

≤ From May 7-14, the Michigan National Guard assisted the Upper Peninsula Health Department, DHHS, and SEOC by completing testing at seven long-term care facilities in the Upper Peninsula.

≤ From May 15 through Friday, Michigan National Guard testing teams assisted in Oakland, Genesee, Kent, Muskegon, Washtenaw, Wayne, Ingham, Saginaw, and Macomb counties.

Support to DHHS testing is expected to continue, based on DHHS priority, through the end of May with Kalamazoo, Calhoun, St. Clair, Ottawa, Berrien, Gratiot, Bay, Eaton, Grand Traverse and Livingston counties, officials said.

“The Michigan National Guard is made up of men and women who strive to provide innovative solutions and performance excellence to the citizens of Michigan,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, adjutant general and director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, in a press release. “We look forward to continuing our support to communities, especially the most vulnerable populations.”

The Michigan National Guard has more than 60 trained testing teams ready to assist, 15 of which are currently assigned to support this long term care facility testing mission, officials said.

Separate teams have recently supported Michigan Department of Corrections facilities throughout the state. These three-member teams include a certified medic to conduct the testing and two members to assist with paperwork, logistics, and non-medical tasks. Teams are equipped to perform testing, or to train staff members to perform testing at the discretion of the long-term care facility.

“Widespread testing will be the most crucial tool we have in protecting Michiganders from COVID-19 and lowering the chance of a second wave,” Whitmer said in a press release. “Residents and staff in our long-term care facilities are uniquely vulnerable to the spread of this virus, and I’m proud to work with Maj. Gen. Rogers and our dedicated guard members to ensure people in these facilities can get tested easily. We will get through this together.”

All team members have tested negative for COVID-19 and have been self-isolating in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance to ensure health and safety and to protect Michigan communities. The teams wear personal protective equipment, including Tyvek suits, face shields, nitrile gloves, and face masks, N-95 or surgical, as appropriate, the release states.

Seney June programs canceled

At Seney National Wildlife Refuge, the following services and operations are suspended until further notice in order to comply with federal, state and local efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus:

≤ Visitor center operations remain closed

≤ All public events scheduled for the month of June are canceled

≤ Spotting scopes are not installed at observation decks

According to a press release from the refuge: “The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers and partners at Seney National Wildlife Refuge is our number one priority. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working service-wide with federal, state and local authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic. We will notify the public when we resume full operations and provide updates on our website and social media channels.”

Outdoor spaces at Seney National Wildlife Refuge remain accessible to the public in accordance with the latest federal, state and local health guidance.

≤ The Marshland Wildlife Drive is open.

≤ The Fishing Loop and designated pools are open for fishing.

≤ The outdoor restrooms at the headquarters building are open.

≤ More than 10 miles of foot paths are open for hiking.

≤ Many miles of backcountry roads are open for hiking or bicycling.

Refuge restrooms will be cleaned once per day and will be closed several hours prior to cleaning to allow them to sit vacant out of consideration and safety for the cleaning staff, the release states.

While the restrooms are closed, there is a porta-jon available in the same general location. There is also a porta-jon at the Show Pools Shelter. It is available instead of the existing pit toilet and will be cleaned by the vendor once a week. The porta-jons have handwashing facilities. Staff will evaluate use and issues during the upcoming weeks and adapt as needed.

Even though the facilities will be regularly tended, visitors are asked to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on personal hygiene prior to visiting the refuge and be prepared to be able to tend to hygiene even if restroom supplies are not available at the time when the facilities are used.

The release adds: “And, please remember to give yourself and other visitors a trumpeter swan’s wingspan of space — six to eight feet — between you as you enjoy overlooks, foot trails, benches, etc. Please take care of yourselves and help us take care of our refuge. Contact us if you have questions or want to report issues.

“Access to outdoor areas may close if conditions change. If contemplating a visit to a national wildlife refuge during this pandemic, we ask visitors to adhere to guidance from the CDC and state and local public health authorities to protect visitors and employees. As services are limited, we urge visitors to continue to practice Leave No Trace principles, including pack-in and pack-out, to keep outdoor spaces safer and healthier.”

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