GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — On Tuesday, the day after Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer told everyone but nonessential workers to stay home to help slow the spread of coronavirus, state and local officials were not on the same page about who would be enforcing that order.
The Grand Rapids Police Department told the public to take their complaints to the Michigan Attorney General’s Office. Within hours, the AG’s Office said you should call your local police.
On Wednesday, as agencies figured out how to handle an order they’ve never dealt with before, there seemed to be more agreement about who is responsible for what.
“The original messaging was to contact the AG’s Office, but within the city of Grand Rapids, we have set up a plan,” GRPD Chief Eric Payne said.
That plan is essentially the same across West Michigan. If you have concerns about large gatherings or other violations of the order, call 311. Most cities have a 311 service; if yours doesn’t, call city hall.
Calhoun County agencies have asked you to call the following nonemergency lines for your local police:
- Calhoun County Sheriff, 269.781.0880
- Albion Public Safety, 517.629.3933
- Battle Creek Police Department, 269.966.3322
- Emmett Township Public Safety, 269.968.9303
- Marshall Police Department, 269.781.2596
- Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Tribal Police, 269.729.5222
No questions about the stay-at-home order or complaints about violations should be directed to 911.
“911 has never changed: It’s when there is an emergency,” Payne said. “If there is a concern about a business that is open or a large gathering, unless there is an emergency involved in that, 311 would be appropriate.”
GRPD also advised people to use restraint when reporting violations. It’s only going to go after the most flagrant noncompliance.
Contact the Attorney General’s Office if your problem involves consumer protection, like if you think a business is price-gouging or if you’ve come across a scam. You can go online or call the complaint line at 877-765-8388.
If you have questions about whether your business is deemed essential under the stay-at-home order, you should go to the state’s coronavirus webpage to review the executive order and frequently asked questions. If you can’t find an answer, email your questions to MI-AG@Michigan.gov. Be aware it may take a while to get a response.
“This situation is fluid and rapidly changing, and we appreciate your patience,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a Wednesday statement. “We’re all in this together and we are counting on every resident to do everything they can to stay safe, stay healthy and stay home.”
The executive order will be in effect at least until April 13. Whitmer will decide when to lift it based on the number of cases, rate of spread, ability to test for the disease and isolate the sick, and the status at hospitals.
The stay-at-home order means people should not go out unless they are fulfilling an essential errand, like getting food, or if they are designated an essential worker.
Michigan State Police said in a Wednesday release that if you violate the order, you could face a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a $500 fine. A business flouting the order could also be fined.
But MSP also said there will be no highway shutdowns or checkpoints, something the governor also said when she announced her order. Troopers will not stop you randomly just for being out. You are asked to comply voluntarily to protect public health.
“Living in Michigan, we know how to deal with emergencies due to weather, but this is something different,” Chief Payne said. “We are up to the challenge. Not only as an organization, the city, but as a community. The community is playing a big part in it trying to get back to normal life.”