Pandemic reaches stay at home stage
The Frankenmuth community is not immune to the novel coronavirus pandemic, also known as COVID-19.
On Monday, a spokesperson from Covenant Glen assisted living and memory care said a resident tested positive for the virus. The resident is currently hospitalized for treatment.
Frankenmuth, and the rest of the State of Michigan, recently completed week one without sports, dining in at restaurants and bars and discovering long lines for the grocery stores, such as Kroger of Frankenmuth. People are snapping up cleaning products, meat, canned goods, cat litter and toilet paper. No one has yet explained to this writer the reason for the run on toilet paper.
The initial executive order by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer was levied at 3pm Monday, March 16 – a day before one of the more popular bar and restaurant holidays, St. Patrick’s Day. Theaters and casinos were part of the temporary closure, leaving eateries to scramble to make delivery and carry-out orders viable. Many said normally less than five percent of their business comes on take-out orders.
Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland, usually closed just four days a year, shuttered its doors last week, through March 31. That will likely be extended through Tuesday, April 14, as Whitmer extended the order to April 13.
Over the weekend, Frankenmuth downtown traffic was miniscule. The Bavarian Inn Restaurant’s Cluck Truck did garner patrons, even some small lines, waiting for food from their take-out menu.
Talking with a few restaurant owners and managers, they were pleased with the support of their regular customers, however, they hope area folks remember to shop locally for their take-out food and drink.
What was noticeable, especially Sunday, was the number of residents outside, walking and riding bikes, taking dogs out for a stroll, performing yard work and in the township, burning leaves and ditches. Sugar beet farmers took advantage of drier conditions to work the soil and plant beet seed.
A number of folks turned to Facebook and the Frankenmuth Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau in response to the Frankenmuth River Place Shops closing. While they supported the closure, many still stroll through the “village” and enjoy the piped-in music. Jessica Haynes with the River Place Shops came to the rescue and had the music turned back on.
At 11am Monday, the governor joined several other states with a “Stay Home, Stay Safe, Save Lives” executive order. For at least the next three weeks, all non-essential Michigan businesses and operations must temporarily suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life, and all Michiganders must stay in their homes unless they are part of that critical infrastructure workforce, engaged in an outdoor activity or performing tasks necessary to the health and safety of themselves or their family, like going to the hospital or grocery store.
For at least the next three weeks, individuals may only leave their home or place of residence under very limited circumstances, and they must adhere to social distancing measures recommended by the CDC when they do so, including maintaining six feet from people outside the individual’s household to the extent feasible under the circumstances.
“In just 13 days, we’ve gone from 0 to over 1,000 COVID-19 cases,” Whitmer said at her Monday press conference. “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 is currently in the top five states in the nation in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Several governors across the country have taken similar steps to protect their communities from the coronavirus spread, including governors from Ohio, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, California, Louisiana, New Jersey and Connecticut.
The Frankenmuth School District’s breakfast and lunch meal program will continue, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 7:45-9am and 11am to 1pm.
Whitmer addressed this at her Monday press conference, through Press Secretary Tiffany Brown.
“Governor Whitmer is committed to ensuring that Michigan students have access to the food they need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the governor’s executive order, K-12 school food services are considered critical infrastructure and should continue. The governor deeply appreciates the vital work that our frontline school employees are doing every day to ensure that our kids have the food they need while the order is in effect,” Brown said.
The pandemic has also pushed back income tax filing from the traditional April 15 date to July 15, without penalty.
Locally, the fifth annual “Stand Up For the Eagles” FUNdraiser scheduled for Friday, April 24 at Uptown North Main has now been rescheduled for Friday, May 8. This event organized by the Frankenmuth Athletic Association has raised about $50,000 annually to assist the Eagle sports programs.
The FHS track and field program postponed its annual spaghetti fundraiser and silent auction, to a date yet to be determined.
The Frankenmuth Civic Events Council (CEC) has cancelled its annual German Clothing Sale and will conduct it next spring. The CEC is the governing body of the Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival.
The Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association is recommending the suspension of accepting empty containers of beer, wine and soda. The Frankenmuth Kroger Store stopped accepting empty cans and bottles on Monday.