MAC COVID-19 Update
Stay at Home order will lift
for Michigan, governor announces

Michigan’s Stay at Home order is lifted, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced this afternoon as part of a new Executive Order to advance the state to more economic and social activity as the numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths show continued declines.

Under Executive Order 110 , Whitmer made the following changes to activity:

  • Retailers can reopen on June 4, subject to capacity limits.
  • Restaurants can fully reopen on June 8, subject to capacity limits.
  • Libraries and museums can reopen on June 8.
  • Groups of 100 or fewer are allowed outdoors, subject to social distancing.
  • Indoor groups are limited to 10 or fewer.
  • Office work that cannot be done remotely can resume.

Masks will be needed in enclosed public spaces. And (non-tribal) casinos, salons, barber shops, theaters and gyms will remain closed.

Michigan’s  state of emergency and disaster  runs through June 19. 

The changes are part of the governor’s decision to move Michigan into the “Improving” state of the administration’s “ Safe Start ” plan. “Improving” is the fourth of sixth stages in the plan, with “Containing” being stage 5 and “Post-Pandemic” stage 6.

The state has seen general downward trends in coronavirus cases and deaths in recent weeks . By moving to “Improving,” the governor is saying the health system can handle any new outbreaks of COVID-19.
Federal guidance: States need to send CARES Act money to locals

In comments released late last week, U.S. Treasury officials said that state governments need to be sharing CARES Act money with local governments that did not qualify for direct payments under the act due to their population. This guidance affirms what MAC has been saying in ongoing discussions with the State Budget Office on the need for state help to address COVID-19 financial effects.

In Michigan, the federal guidance would apply to 79 of the 83 counties.

The guidance came via a May 28 FAQ document, which states:

“Should States receiving a payment transfer funds to local governments that did not receive payments directly from Treasury?

“Yes, provided that the transferred funds are used by the local government for eligible expenditures under the statute. To facilitate prompt distribution of Title V funds, the CARES Act authorized Treasury to make direct payments to local governments with populations in excess of 500,000, in amounts equal to 45% of the local government’s per capita share of the statewide allocation. This statutory structure was based on a recognition that it is more administratively feasible to rely on States, rather than the federal government, to manage the transfer of funds to smaller local governments. Consistent with the needs of all local governments for funding to address the public health emergency, States should transfer funds to local governments with populations of 500,000 or less, using as a benchmark the per capita allocation formula that governs payments to larger local governments. This approach will ensure equitable treatment among local governments of all sizes.

“For example, a State received the minimum $1.25 billion allocation and had one county with a population over 500,000 that received $250 million directly. The State should distribute 45 percent of the $1 billion it received, or $450 million, to local governments within the State with a population of 500,000 or less.”

MAC will continue to make the case for state help for counties as the budget process continues.

For more information on this issue, contact Deena Bosworth at .
Whitmer to testify before U.S. House panel on pandemic response

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will be one of three state governors testifying on Tuesday before the U.S. House’s Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. Whitmer, Jared Polis of Colorado and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas will testify on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The virtual hearing will start at 11:30 a.m. A livestream is available on the subcommittee’s website .
NACo webinar will deal with elections in a public health crisis

Tackling the challenges of holding elections amid a pandemic will be the focus of a June 3 webinar from the National Association of Counties (NACo).
“Administering an Election during the COVID-19 Crisis” will run from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern time and discuss the challenges of navigating an election in the age of COVID-19. The webinar will include a focus on how states are planning for primaries and the general election, a discussion of considerations for counties implementing vote-by-mail, and a look at considerations and costs around personal protective equipment (PPE) and social distancing related to polling places.

In July, as part of its Camp Counties webinar series, MAC will host NACo’s Rita Reynolds for a discussion on “Basic Steps for Counties to Enhance Election Cybersecurity.” Be sure to register for that free event, along with the other Camp Counties webinars that begin June 10.