By Benjamin J. Gohs, Editor
When you are following the rules, it can be frustrating to see others potentially skirting them—especially when those actions could put other people at risk.
Boyne City Gazette has received several phone calls, emails, and social media inquiries in recent weeks regarding local businesses allegedly operating in violation of both shutdown orders, and also regarding downstate residents coming to their vacation homes in Charlevoix County despite the governor’s orders to stay home to help stop, or at least slow, transmission of the coronavirus.
People keep saying, “What can I do?”
Boyne City Police officials told the Boyne City Gazette they haven’t received all that many complaints but that they are investigating them when received.
“Any calls we’ve had, if we can verify what’s reported, we make contact to make sure they are aware of the executive order if they are not in compliance and be sure of what’s going on because—on its face—things may not seem to be in compliance when they are,” Boyne City Assistant Police Chief Dan Mercer said. “We’ve been reaching out to those people and checking with them and check on their activities to find out if they are in compliance.”
The penalties for violating the second version of Michigan’s Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order include up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. This applies to businesses as well as individuals.
Mercer said his department has received concerned calls regarding both out-of-towners and local businesses still in operation.
But, he added, “I don’t know of any instances in our area—especially with our department—where enforcement was taken.”
Overall, Mercer said, Boyne area residents are doing a good job of complying with what’s been asked of them and seem to be taking the COVID-19 mitigation efforts seriously.
Boyne City Police Officers have been given personal protective equipment including N95 masks, respirators, goggles, gloves, cleaners, and hand-sanitizer to help keep them safe.
But, one of the best ways to help keep frontline public servants healthy during the pandemic is for ordinary citizens to follow governmental guidelines, which include not traveling from residence to residence, not visiting vacation homes, and only going out for food, medicine, or other essential reasons.
“I would just encourage everyone to do their part so we can get past this as quickly as possible,” Mercer said. “I’d also like to remind everybody that we will all get through this and we just need to take it one day at a time and do the best we can with the given situation.”
The State of Michigan is not taking reports of violations of the stay home order and the Michigan State Police has urged people not to call 9-1-1 if they think someone is violating it.
You can reach the Boyne City Police Department through its non-emergency line at (231) 582-6611.