Michigan order banning travel 'between residences' takes effect

An extension of Michigan’s stay-at-home order barring residents from buying nonessential items or traveling “between residences” in the state except to perform essential activities went into effect Saturday morning.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed the order Friday evening after announcing it Thursday, also extending the order directing residents to stay in their homes until May 1. It's one of the most aggressive orders a U.S. state has issued since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. 

"All public and private gatherings of any size are prohibited," Whitmer said at a news conference Friday.

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The order has been the subject of criticism for apparent loopholes and inconsistencies, according to the Detroit Free Press. 

Though Michigan residents cannot visit their own cottages, residents from neighboring states can visit their vacation homes in Michigan. And while the state’s scope of nonessential items is broad — including goods such as paint and garden equipment — it also allowed the purchase of lottery tickets.

"These businesses are essential — to us," Terressa Carson, a Michigan resident who relies on her home garden for produce told the Free Press. 

Whitmer said the state took aggressive action considering it has the third highest number of cases in the nation and continues to see more each day. As of Saturday morning, the state has reported 22,783 cases and 1,281 deaths. 

"Michigan has the third highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country, and we’re still on the upswing," Whitmer said in a statement. "We must continue to do everything we can to slow the spread and protect our families."