05-21-2020 SW Michiganders grow impatient while Yoopers allowed to reopen; United people celebrating

N HONOR… American Flag flying at half-staff at the Watervliet City Cemetery, the traditional site for Memorial Day Observances. But not this year, as social distancing rules keeps all apart to reduce the spread of Covid-19. (TCR photo by Angela Widdis)


SW Michiganders grow impatient while Yoopers allowed to reopen

By Jon Bisnett

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced Monday that retail businesses in much of the Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan, including restaurants and bars, may reopen starting Friday, May 22 per the 90th Executive Order issued by the Governor since March 10. No governor of any state in the union has come close to the proliferation of orders streaming out of Lansing.

Northern Michigan bars and restaurants will be required to limit their capacity to 50%. Groups will be mandated to stay six feet apart, while servers will have to wear face coverings.

Office work also will be able resume if work cannot be done remotely.

Whitmer’s current Stay Home order runs through May 28 conflicting with her reopening of Northern Michigan slated for Friday, May 22. The zones identified to reopen included all of the Upper Peninsula and several counties of Northern Lower Michigan including Traverse City. Hair salons, theaters, dine-in restaurants, libraries, gyms and casinos and the like are still shut down until May 28, with DNR Campgrounds shut down until June 21.

So, if one interprets the most recent order strictly you can order up a tasty pasty in a Traverse City restaurant starting this Friday, but not if you drove there from Watervliet because you are still under a Stay Home order.

It’s no small wonder why impatient small business people have protested and lawsuits have been leveled at the Governor.

State lawmakers in Michigan filed a lawsuit against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in a partisan effort to compel her to reopen the state’s economy after she extended her state of emergency declaration following weeks of protests at the state Capitol.

House Speaker Lee Chatfield and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, both Republicans, said they had no choice but to file in the Michigan Court of Claims, as Whitmer has overstepped her authority by her extension of the State of Emergency which lacked backing from the GOP-controlled Legislature.

Two protests have been held at the Lansing Capital with another planned in Grand Rapids for this week.

More SW Michigan cancellations

Close to home, the Watervliet 4th of July Celebration is canceled, as is the Eau Claire Cherry Festival and Coloma’s Glad-Peach Festival. The ever-popular Independence Day Fireworks in Baroda have also been canceled.

The “World’s Largest Flag Day Parade” set for June 14 is another event that won’t happen this year per organizers in Three Oaks.

St. Joseph City Commissioners have canceled the community fireworks showcase on the 4th of July along Lake Michigan. In addition, the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra which has performed side-by-side with that fireworks extravaganza followed suit, canceling not only that show but their entire summer series through the end of August 2020.

St. Joseph Today still plans to continue its sponsorship of the Annual St. Joe Farmer’s Market held each Saturday, subject to an approval from City Commissioners meeting this week.