Gretchen Whitmer press conference

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer along state officials at a March 20 press conference

(The Center Square) – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order Friday banning landlords from evicting tenants through April 17 to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The order excludes tenants “posing a substantial risk to another person or an imminent and severe risk to property.”

“Families across the state are facing a number of uncertainties, from concerns about their health and well-being and that of their loved ones to when their next paycheck will arrive,” Whitmer said in a press release. “Worrying about whether they’ll be evicted from their home, apartment or mobile home should not be on this list.”

“This executive order will ease a burden on families struggling to make ends meet and allow them to focus on what’s most important – staying safe and healthy,” she said.

“We continue to urge all Michigan families to remain focused on putting their health first and making smart decisions to help slow the spread of COVID-19,” Director of the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity Jeff Donofrio said in a statement. “This order, in addition to Wednesday’s order extending the tax foreclosure deadline, will give renters and homeowners some peace of mind.”

COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath and can occur between two and 14 days.

Whitmer said that as of Friday, she doesn’t plan to implement a stay-at-home order, which Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker did.

That could change if Michiganders don’t follow precautions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she said.

The state reported 549 positive COVID-19 cases today. 

Health officials recommend the following precautions:

  • If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, call your healthcare provider. If you do not have a health care provider, call the nearest hospital.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home, and avoid contact with others.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others when in a public setting.

Staff Reporter

Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.