THURSDAY, May 28 — A rally at the Michigan State Capitol today was a bit more tame than those in recent weeks, but that’s because it wasn’t about protest. It was about prayer.
At least 100 people gathered at the Capitol to worship, sing songs and pray for families and leaders in Michigan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Day of Repentance and Prayer” was about making an appeal to heaven, organizers told MLive.
“We’re going through a challenging time, families and businesses are stressed, and we feel prayer is the answer,” Transformation Michigan director Rick Warzywak told MLive this week.
The Lansing State Journal also reports that today’s prayer rally had intersected with another, separate demonstration from a Legally Armed in Detroit. The group rallied against violence in the wake of continued police brutality against African Americans across the nation, — most recently with the deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis, of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia.
Lansing Mayor Andy Schor announced today that the City of Lansing’s Community Response Cabinet has launched a new OneLansing website dedicated to Lansing’s COVID-19 relief effort.
Schor convened the Community Response Cabinet — a group of community partners focused on responding to the health crisis — to carve a plan for long-term recovery, according to a release. The new online portal will assist in collecting donations to support the local community.
The OneLansing effort, created to provide funding toward basic needs such as food and housing for Lansing residents during this challenging time, has already raised a total of $71,065 from 206 donors. A small business recovery program has also garnered about $400,000.
A series of Facebook Live sessions with Schor will feature special guests and focus on the needs of local nonprofits, businesses and for the general community. Guests include Teresa L. Kmetz, president & CEO of the Capital Area United Way, to speak about community needs, at 11 a.m. Thursday, June 4, and Bob Trezise, president & CEO of Lansing Economic Area Partnership, to speak about business needs, at 11 a.m. June 11.
This summer is going to look different across Greater Lansing.
Statewide restrictions on public and private gatherings, while recently relaxed, are still expected to lead to canceling or postponing city programs over the next few months. Accordingly, many facilities will be closed in Ingham, Clinton and Eaton counties. City Pulse compiled some details.
Retail stores across Michigan have the governor’s green light to reopen their doors, albeit with new restrictions, this week. But many of them, including most across Greater Lansing, have yet to restart business as usual.
Under an executive order signed last Thursday, retailers statewide — even those that don’t sell “essential” goods like groceries — have been able to reopen since Tuesday, provided that no more than 10 customers are allowed inside at once, regardless of the size of their buildings.
Still, local residents shouldn’t expect businesses to fling open their doors on Day One, local officials have said. And for the most part, they haven’t in Greater Lansing. Big box stores that could theoretically open in Frandor and the Eastwood Towne Center remained closed to the public.
Most smaller, mom-and-pop businesses across downtown Lansing, Old Town, REO Town and those surrounding East Lansing weren’t quite ready to reopen sales floors this week either.
The East Lansing Downtown Development Authority has approved a second round of Business Relief Program grants with modified eligibility requirements for those impacted by COVID-19.
The online grant application for the second round of the DDA’s BRP opens at 8 a.m. Tuesday, June 2, and runs till 11:59 p.m. Friday, June 5. To be eligible, businesses must ensure by 5 p.m Monday, June 1, they’re not delinquent on any fines or fees owed to the city.
In the first round of the program, 57 eligible brick-and-mortar DDA businesses received $2,500 BRP grants for a total of $142,500 in awarded grant funds. This round will drain the $107,500 remaining in discretionary funding in another round of $2,500 business grants.
Click here for eligibility requirements, scoring criteria, a DDA boundary map and a PDF of the application are available at. Questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Michigan Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, overturned a lower court today and said the state of Michigan has the authority to shut down the Owasso barbershop of Karl Manke, who defied Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's stay-at-home order, the Detroit Free Press reports.
Judge Matthew Stewart had said the state had failed to demonstrate that Manke — who has become something akin to a folk hero among opponents of the stay-home order — posed an imminent threat to public health or safety by continuing to give haircuts.
But the Michigan Court of Appeals sent the case back to Stewart to issue a preliminary injunction against Manke "to immediately cease all operations."
Michiganders filed nearly 58,000 new unemployment claims last week, a sign that even as parts of the state reopen the pandemic's shutdown is still causing economic pain, the Detroit Free Press reports. Since March, more than a third of the state’s workforce has sought benefits.
Secretary of State branch offices will reopen Monday by appointment only for essential transactions not available online. All 131 branch offices in Michigan will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays for appointment only services for transactions including:
Branch staff will follow health and safety protocols, including wearing masks, standing six feet apart, using desk shields, and disinfecting shared or common surfaces. Branch doors will be locked, and each branch will have a greeter to let customers with appointments in at scheduled appointment times. A copy of the department’s reopening preparedness plan can be found here.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer sent a letter today to President Donald Trump requesting continued use of the Michigan National Guard forces to combat the spread of COVID-19 through July 31. Current orders provide federal pay and benefits that are only slated to last through June 24.
“I’m requesting an extension to continue utilizing the National Guard so we can safely reopen our economy while putting the health and well-being of all Michiganders first,” Whitmer said.
Nearly all the prisoners at Parnall Correctional Facility near Jackson — about 92% of them — have tested positive for antibodies for the coronavirus, suggesting that they had COVID-19 in the past, the Detroit Free Press reports. The antibody tests were offered two weeks ago.
Michigan’s regulated utilities have agreed to extend, through mid-June, the shutoff protections, flexible payment plans and other options they’ve offered to help customers struggling to pay utility bills because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, state officials announced today.
Utilities, including the state’s two largest Consumers Energy and DTE Energy, have extended protections for vulnerable customers through June 12, 2020, following Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s extension of her Stay Safer at Home order through that date.
Deadlines are fast approaching for people who lost their health insurance due to layoffs, reduced hours, or a change in income during the COVID-19 pandemic to take advantage of low or no-cost health care options available through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Consumers in these situations must sign up for health insurance within 60 days, which is coming soon for people who were impacted in the early weeks of the COVID-19 response.
To determine eligibility, consumers should visit the Health Insurance Marketplace at www.healthcare.gov. Depending on income and their situation, consumers may qualify for cost sharing reductions, premium tax credits, coverage for their children (CHIP), or Medicaid. Consumers should contact DIFS toll free at 877-999-6442 if they need assistance.
In the numbers…
At least 16 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in Greater Lansing today, with no additional deaths tracked since yesterday. The regional death toll stands at 41 with 1,051 confirmed cases.
Michigan tracked at least another 406 coronavirus statewide cases this afternoon with another 38 virus-related deaths, pushing the case count past 56,000 with nearly 5,400 reported dead.
Cases — 729 (+12)
Recovered Cases — 394
Recovery Rate — 54%
Deaths — 25 (No change)
Fatality Rate — 3.4%
As of yesterday, zip code 48911 tracks 211-220 cases. Zip code 48910 tracks 81-90 cases. Zip code 48823 tracks 71-80 cases. Zip code 48854 and 48906 tracks 51-60 cases. Zip code 48864 tracks 41-50 cases. Zip codes 48842 and 48912 each track 31-40 cases. Zip code 48915 tracks 21-30 cases. Zip codes 48917, 48840, and 48895 each track 11-20 cases. Zip codes 48285, 48819, 48827, 48892, 48933, 49251, 49264 and 49285 each track 10 cases or fewer.
Cases — 183 (+4)
Recovered Cases — 161
Recovery Rate — 88%
Deaths — 6 (No change)
Fatality Rate — 3.3%
Cases — 139 (-3)
Deaths — 10 (No change)
Fatality Rate — 7.2%
The Mid-Michigan County Health Department does not report recovery statistics.
Cases — 56,014 (+406)
Recoveries — 33,168 (as of 5/22/20)
Recovery Rate — 59.2%
Deaths — 5,372 (+38)
Fatality Rate — 9.6%
Cases — 1,711,313
Deaths — 101,129
Fatality Rate — 5.9%
As of today, Michigan reports the eighth most cases of any state, behind New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, California, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Texas. Michigan ranks fifth in the country in virus-related deaths, behind New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.