I live in a Northern Lower Michigan county of about 90,000 people and this is a snapshot of how
things are going in our area and in a state ruled by a Democrat Governor.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has issued about a dozen executive orders since issuing the
original state of emergency for the coronavirus. Her state of emergency has no expiration date and
since we have a Democrat governor, I’m sure she will let it stand for quite a long time so that she can
implement whatever she wants to during that time.
Our governor has closed schools, bars, casinos, restaurants, wineries, cigar bars, movie theaters,
libraries, museums, gyms and many other businesses. She has put restrictions on going into health
care facilities and nursing homes, gatherings of 50 or more people (funerals, weddings, etc.) and
medical and dental procedures. I have to go to her executive order web page everyday to keep up on
things and make sure I am living in compliance with the Queen.
So life in our tourism town has definitely slowed down without the people visiting, shopping
downtown, holding business conferences and going to bars and restaurants. With so many
businesses closed and the president asking people to stay home as much as possible, commerce
with the locals has slowed down to a drip also.
However, some of us are still working (until the governor stops us) and we are still living life as close
to normal as possible, going to work, keeping our distance from people, washing our hands, staying
home if we are sick.
The grocery stores and convenience stores are still open as well as the gas stations, the pet stores,
the second hand shops, copy shops, auto shops, car retailers, pharmacies, the pawn shop… pretty
much anything the governor hasn’t banned is still opened with some retailers putting rules in place,
restricting the number of customers in the building at one time or having restricted hours.
The availability of groceries and other items fluctuates. Toilet paper is still hard to come by but you
can run into it once in a while at different places. One store might be out of margarine, the other might
be low on bread. You might not get exactly what you are looking for but you’ll find something. You
won’t starve. Re-stocking happens a lot more than it used to.
Some people are wearing gloves and masks in stores but it’s not prevalent. People are keeping their
distance from each other in the stores for the most part.
Start receiving the latest news from award winning journalist, TV broadcaster and radio host Steve Gruber.
I would say that crime is up in our area. I know this firsthand after coming in to work the other day and
finding broken window glass in our lunchroom. In what first appeared to be an attempted break in with
smashed windows and a screen cut by a knife, the police ended up calling it vandalism and
destruction of property based on the evidence and the fact that the same thing happened two doors
down and to three other businesses pretty close by – no thefts, just destroying property. Probably kids
off from school.
On the positive side of things, many of our restaurants are still open, offering take-out, curbside and
delivery and we have a listing of those businesses for everyone to see.
Healthy people are volunteering with the United Way after they put a call out. The bus service is still
running. Schools in the area are preparing free meals for the kids.
A local beverage company has started selling hand sanitizer and their sales have at least doubled.
Their company and other licensed distilleries have been permitted to make sanitizer through at least
June 30th by the governor.
About a dozen different groups in our county have formed a task force to keep us informed on what’s
going on and what they are doing together. They’ve also set up a website and a Facebook page. It
includes the county, local hospital, the city, the school system, the fire and EMS, airport, bus service,
Coast Guard, local college, our legislative representative and a few others.
Our county currently currently has only one person who has tested positive for COVID-19. The
person is a male in his 20’s with a history of international travel and is recovering at home.
Because our county depends a lot on tourism and is mostly full of small businesses, we are all
worried about the economic fallout if the business shut downs last for more than another few weeks.
But we are not alone in this. It’s something felt all across the country.