Frequently asked questions about Michigan's 'stay at home' order

Michigan State Police have released frequently asked questions about Governor Gretchen Whitmer's "Stay at home" order issued earlier this week and how it will be enforced.

How will the “Stay Home” Executive Order be enforced?

The order directs Michiganders to stay in their homes unless they’ve been designated as a critical infrastructure employee by their employer, engaged in an outdoor activity while maintaining social distancing, or performing tasks necessary to the health and safety of themselves or their family, like going to the hospital or grocery store. Executive Order 2020-21 is not a recommendation, it is an order necessary for the health and safety of all Michiganders.

Executive Order 2020-21 was effective on March 24, 2020 at 12:01 am and continues through April 13, 2020 at 11:59 pm. Under this order, individuals may only leave their home or place of residence under very limited circumstances, and they must adhere to social distancing measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when they do so, including remaining at least six feet from another person when outside the individual’s residence to the extent feasible under the circumstances.

The goal of this order is simple: stay home, stay safe, and save lives.

Will the MSP be stopping people for being out on the streets and issuing tickets or approaching businesses that appear to still be open?

Executive Order 2020-21 authorizes critical infrastructure workers and persons engaged in an outdoor activity or performing tasks necessary to the health and safety of themselves or their family, to leave their homes for these limited purposes. For this reason, there are no plans to randomly stop people or to conduct a coordinate campaign to inspect businesses to ensure compliance with this order. With that said, Executive Orders do carry the weight of law and the MSP stands ready to enforce any aspect of these orders, if needed. However, given the serious nature of COVID-19, we are confident that Michiganders will take notice and voluntarily comply, as it is in the best interest of the entire state that we all work together to stay home as much as possible.

Is the National Guard enforcing this order?

No. The National Guard is being used for humanitarian missions across the country. In Michigan, the Michigan National Guard is assisting with ensuring the medical supply chain.

Are the freeways closing? Will there be checkpoints?

No. Critical infrastructure workers need to be able to fulfill their duties, and Michiganders need to be able to perform tasks necessary to the health of themselves or their family, such as going to the hospital, pharmacy or grocery store. Law enforcement is hopeful Michiganders will recognize the seriousness of this situation and voluntarily comply with this order.

Will you be stopping everyone you see?

No. Law enforcement will be visible and prepared to take action if violations are warranted, but we are optimistic that individuals and businesses will recognize the serious nature of this order and will comply by staying home.

What happens to those caught violating the order?

Executive orders carry the weight of law and violators can face up to a 90-day misdemeanor or up to a $500 fine. Businesses in regulated industries can also face licensing and other restrictions.

Who’s considered essential and allowed to travel to work?

Executive Order 2020-21 prohibits in-person work that is not necessary to sustain or protect life. Specifically, it says “No person or entity shall operate a business or conduct operations that require workers to leave their homes or places of residence except to the extent that those workers are necessary to sustain or protect life or to conduct minimum basic operations.” For purposes of this order, workers who are necessary to sustain or protect life are defined as “critical infrastructure workers.” The EO details that these workers may include:

  • Health care and public health
  • Law enforcement, public safety, and first responders
  • Food and agriculture.
  • Energy
  • Water and wastewater
  • Transportation and logistics
  • Public works
  • Communications and information technology, including news media
  • Other community-based government operations and essential functions
  • Critical manufacturing
  • Hazardous materials
  • Financial services
  • Chemical supply chains and safety
  • Defense industrial base
  • Child-Care workers

Anyone with questions should consult the guidance and direction in Executive Order 2020-21.

Is the media essential?

The Executive Order does identify the news media as part of Communications and Information Technology, which means that a journalist could be considered a critical infrastructure worker for purposes of this order.

When do you call 911 versus the COVID-19 hotline?

911 should be reserved for requesting emergency services only. Persons with questions about COVID-19 should review the resources available at Residents can also call the MDDHS COVID-19 hotline, seven days a week, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., at 888-535-6136.

Per CDC guidance, persons who believe they are exhibiting symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19, should contact their medical provider first to have their symptoms screened. At this time, not everyone’s symptoms or medical history qualifies them for testing. Do not show up to a medical facility without first contacting a medical provider.

What about the homeland security letter that is floating around authorizing federal employees to travel for work?

Per the Executive Order, federal law enforcement employees are considered critical infrastructure workers.

11. Where can I find more information and clarification about this order?

The Executive Office is working as quickly as possible to clarify specific areas of the order, based on questions they are receiving from industry and the public. A list of FAQs that can be found here is being continually updated.

12. Where to find information regarding the latest Secretary of State services at this time?

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