UPDATE: Indiana has now issued a stay at home order as well.
Lansing, MI – Michigan and Louisiana have formally ordered residents to stay at home while a host of other states have locked down non-essential businesses in response to the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the nation.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a “shelter in place” order for residents of her state on Monday morning, WJBK reported.
Whitmer’s executive order telling people to stay home except for trips to the grocery store and pharmacy goes into effect at midnight.
“This is the only tool we have to fight it at the moment and support our health care system to respond is to give them the opportunity to respond,” the governor told reporters at a press conference on March 23. “The disease can’t spread person-to-person if we’re not out there.”
The order, which will last for least three weeks, also instructed the almost 10 million residents of Michigan to avoid all non-essential travel, WJBK reported.
“In just 13 days, we’ve gone from 0 to over 1,000 COVID-19 cases,” Whitmer said. “This is an unprecedented crisis that requires all of us working together to protect our families and our communities. The most effective way we can slow down the virus is to stay home. I know this will be hard, but it will be temporary. If we all come together, get serious, and do our part by staying home, we can stay safe and save lives.”
Michigan has 1,035 confirmed coronavirus cases and eight people have already died from the pandemic in that state, according to the Bing COVID-19 Tracker.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards issued a statewide “stay at home” order on Sunday that instructed residents to shelter in place except for absolutely essential tasks, The Baton Rouge Advocate reported.
Edwards cited a University of Louisiana at Lafayette study that said Louisiana had the fastest-growing rate of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world.
“This is why it matters,” the governor said. “If we want to flatten the curve, we have to take action today.”
In two weeks, Louisiana went from zero cases to 837 cases in 36 of the state’s 64 parishes, The Baton Rouge Advocated reported.
Twenty people have died from coronavirus in Louisiana so far.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker on Monday morning ordered all non-essential businesses closed and advised residents to stay home during the pandemic, WBZ reported.
The order goes into effect Tuesday at noon.
“Everyone is advised to stay home and limit all unnecessary activities,” said Baker.
The governor’s order said all non-essential businesses “shall close,” WBZ reported.
But liquor stores and medical marijuana shops are allowed to stay open.
“We will always allow all grocery stores, pharmacies, and other types of businesses that provide essential goods and services to Massachusetts residents to continue to operate,” Baker told reporters on March 23.
The governor said he was intentionally not ordering Massachusetts residents to “shelter in place,” WBZ reported.
“I do not believe I can or should order U.S. citizens to be confined to their homes for days on end. It doesn’t make sense from a public health point of view and it’s not realistic,” he said.
Baker said his order would be enforced by local authorities and it would be a graduated set of penalties that started with a fine, according to WBZ.
“We urge people to stay at home and avoid any unnecessary activities, because this will help avoid any unneeded person to person interactions that can spread the virus,” said Baker. “Everyone can still buy food at the grocery store, get what they need at the pharmacy, and of course take a walk around the block or at the park.”
Massachusetts had 646 confirmed cases of coronavirus and five deaths as of Monday morning.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan ordered all non-essential businesses in his state to close by 5 p.m. on Monday, but stopped short of restricting Marylanders from leaving their homes, The Washington Post reported.
“Unless you have essential reason, then you should stay in your home,” Hogan told reporters. “This is an exceptionally challenging time.”
The governor also has not closed liquor stores, lodging and hotels, home improvement stores, self storage, large manufacturers, and a host of other businesses, the Salisbury Daily Times reported.
He told reporters that law enforcement was going to be enforcing social distancing guidelines and shutting down businesses that failed to comply with his order.
“Unfortunately there are still many people not taking this seriously,” Hogan said. “Because of this irresponsible and reckless behavior, even further and more aggressive actions will be taken by state and local authorities to disperse these gatherings.”
Maryland has 288 confirmed cases of coronavirus and three people have died in that state, the Salisbury Daily Times reported.
Oregon is expected to issue a stay-at-home order Monday, according to KOIN.