Health advisory on summer travel

The Health Department or Northwest Michigan, in collaboration with the Northern Michigan Public Health Alliance (NMPHA), issues the following advisory to protect the health of the public in the 31-county NMPHA region:

On June 5, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-114 and 2020-115 which includes temporary restrictions on certain events, gatherings, and businesses, and safeguards to protect Michigan workers.

These actions allow for Michigan Economic Recovery Council Regions 6 & 8 to move to phase 5 of the MI Safe Start Plan on June 10th, allowing additional businesses to open across the state, no longer requires Michigan residents to stay home, and allows for indoor social gatherings of up to 50 people and outdoor social gatherings of up to 250 people.

During summer, many individuals make plans with family and friends to travel to the beautiful coastlines of Michigan or to northern Michigan.

While we understand that many travelers, seasonal, and full-time residents enjoy the beautiful scenery and activities that northern Michigan has to offer, we encourage everyone to keep in mind that we are moving carefully through the phases of re-opening our state.

It is important that everyone continues to follow best practices and safety precaution as additional businesses and travel are phased back in.

The increased population to the northern Michigan area places a substantial strain on the local communities, including local healthcare systems.

Increased movement in and about local business establishments presents additional risk to employees and community members.

In order to protect our residents, visitors, and employees, the Health Department of Northwest Michigan, in addition to the Northern Michigan Public Health Alliance, is advising that you abide by the following guidelines:

  1. If you are sick, stay at home. Do not leave your residence and do not go to work.
  2. If you have symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider or local health department for assistance and to seek testing as soon as possible.
  3. If you have been in close contact with someone who has a confirmed COVID-19 infection, self-quarantine for 14 days from your last contact with them.
  4. All individuals traveling to northern Michigan for vacation, to stay in seasonal homes or are returning from travel out of the area should carefully consider their risk of exposure during travel (ie: attended a large gathering or event, traveled via public transportation such as plane, train, or bus, traveled to an area with a rising rate of cases of COVID-19). If travel is considered higher risk then they are advised to stay at home for 14 days upon arrival to your destination. If they must leave their home, they are advised to wear a face covering, practice social distancing, and frequently wash their hands.
  5. All residents, whether full-time or seasonal, and visitors should adhere to the required safety precautions while in business establishments such as stores, bars, and restaurants including face coverings, social distancing, and capacity limits posted at business entrances.
  6. Maintain 6-feet of social distance with those outside your household, and avoid crowding on outdoor trails and in recreational areas such as beaches.
  7. Comply with limits on gatherings of no more than 50 in an indoor space and no more than 250 in an outdoor space.

By following these simple guidelines, the risk for spreading COVID-19 lowers significantly, protecting everyone who lives, works, and plays in beautiful northern Michigan.

This Advisory replaces the previous Public Health Advisory issued on March 31, 2020 and will remain in place until lifted.

Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego County residents who need resources can call 211 or utilize the Health Department’s free Community Connections program by calling 1-800-432-4121.

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