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Outback Art Fair canceled

For Friday, July 3.

MARQUETTE — The OutBack Art Fair, as with many major summer events such as Art on the Rocks and the Marquette County Fair, will not take place for the same reason: the COVID-19 pandemic.

The OutBack Air Fair had been scheduled for July 25-26 at Shiras Park near Picnic Rocks in Marquette.

The announcement was made Wednesday on Facebook.

It was explained that the event would be restricted to 250 people including vendors, which would leave room for only 50 shoppers at a time with no way to regulate the situation.

A virtual OutBack, however, is in the works.

Vendors are encouraged to set up displays of items and video or photograph them, which can be displayed on the OutBack Facebook page during its scheduled weekend.

The 2021 OutBack Art Fair is set for July 24-25.

Mobile testing to be

offered

The Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center said it and local health departments have partnered to provide COVID-19 testing from 10:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday at the Michigamme Township Community Building, 202 W. Main St.

Testing also will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. July 15 at Gilbert Elementary School, 250 W. Iron St., Gwinn.

Case increase observed

The Marquette County Health Department has seen an increase of COVID-19 cases locally, some of which appear associated with youth sporting events. Staff is investigating, an agency press release notes.

Scams still an issue

Attorney General Dana Nessel continues to take action to protect consumers from businesses and retailers charging excessively high prices for products, and warns people of scammers that could potentially steal their personal information.

Since COVID-19 concerns became known in Michigan in early March, Nessel’s office reported it has received around 4,400 price-gouging complaints, with most complaints relating to grocery items, face masks and sanitizers.

Throughout the pandemic, Nessel’s office has taken multiple actions against both brick-and-mortar and online retailers seeking to take advantage of consumers during the pandemic.

Fortunately, the rate at which consumer complaints of price-gouging is being reported to the attorney general’s office has appeared to slow down in recent weeks.

For June, there was only an increase of about 2.6% in complaints filed with the office, from a total of 4,279 on June 1 to 4,391 on June 30.

On May 1, the total was 3,756, while April 1’s total was 2,506. However, an undetermined number of duplicate complaints were discovered in late April that caused the total number to decrease as staffers removed them from the system.

While the rate at which complaints are filed appears to be decreasing, the number of complaints received is substantially higher than in 2019, when the attorney general’s office received a total of 80 price-gouging complaints. More than half of these were against either gas stations or propane suppliers.

Follow-up action on the complaints is taken when possible, though some of the complaints filed this year do not warrant further investigation and many do not contain enough information to verify the complaints as legitimate, the attorney general’s office said.

As a result, consumers are encouraged to file a complaint online with the attorney general’s office at Michigan.gov so that the complaint contains as much information as needed to properly evaluate a response.

PPE issue addressed

To ensure front-line hospital workers caring for and treating COVID-19 patients are receiving the appropriate personal protective equipment from their employer, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched a state emphasis program that will be in effect through Dec. 31.

This SEP, according to the State Operations Emergency Center, will increase MIOSHA’s presence in hospitals to enforce the requirement to provide appropriate PPE to protect hospital staff and ensure they can continue to care for those most in need.

“As Michigan continues to combat the spread of COVID-19 and protect workers, it is especially important that front-line workers coming in direct contact with this disease have the equipment to protect themselves,” COVID-19 workplace safety Director Sean Egan said in a news release. “MIOSHA will conduct inspections of hospitals to help ensure employees are properly outfitted with PPE and employers are following the standards put in place.”

PPE shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic have posed a tremendous challenge to hospitals across the nation, resulting in rationing, recycling and other strategies to make the best use of the limited supply of PPE.

In the coming weeks, MIOSHA will conduct enforcement inspections in Michigan hospitals. If the inspections determine deficiencies in the employer’s COVID-19 preparedness and response plans, including not providing appropriate PPE, citations and penalties will be issued.

The Consultation Education and Training Division will use outreach activities as an opportunity to raise awareness among employers, employees and safety and health professionals on the best practices for COVID-19 preparedness and response plans in hospitals.

CET consultants are available to help employers develop and implement long-term safety and health programs, plus comply with current MIOSHA regulations. For free statewide assistance, companies can call the CET Division at 517-284-7720 or toll-free at 800-866-4674.

Correction issued

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday signed Senate bills 876-878, which codify her previous executive orders, further extending the renewal dates for driver’s licenses, CDLs, state ID cards and vehicle registrations. Among the extensions outlined in the legislation, those with driver’s licenses or vehicle registrations expiring after March 1 have until Sept. 30 to have them renewed.

A previous announcement said those with driver’s licenses or vehicle registrations expiring between Feb. 1 and June 30 would have until Sept. 30 to be renewed.

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.

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