by Lauren Wolters
Beginning Wednesday Nov. 18, the state of Michigan began a Governor ordered three week “pause.” Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued the order on Sunday Nov. 15 in response to the record rising number of cases across the state. The number of hospitalizations and deaths in Michigan have also been increasing dramatically.
University of Findlay students from Michigan may be 50 miles from their state border but are substantially impacted by the “pause.”
Freshman Paige Falk says the “pause” closed her place of work, so now she must look for another job over winter break.
Megan Berg is a senior psychology major at UF.
“I wish it wasn’t necessary, but it is,” Berg said in an email interview. “We know from scientists and medical experts that shutdowns are the only way to reduce the spread, as the people as a collective have not been successful in abiding by guidelines.”
Senior communication major Alana Sunderman expressed some disappointment about the “pause.”
“My family and I had plans to do some winter activities however, I am also grateful because the cases are high there and I think Governor Whitmer did the correct thing in shutting down the state for a couple of weeks,” Sundermann said in an email interview.
“It’s going to suck going home and not even be able to go to restaurants with my friends,” Falk said in an email interview. “I’m an athlete so it’s also going to be hard not having a gym to work out in.”
Michigan.gov states it has a total of 324,779 confirmed cases with 8,761 total deaths. It reports 4,273 confirmed daily cases and 73 daily COVID-19 deaths.
Coronavirus.Ohio.gov reports Ohio has a total of 382,743 confirmed cases with 6,274 total deaths as of Nov. 24.
Under Michigan’s order, indoor service at bars and restaurants is not allowed. Movie theaters, bowling alleys, arcades, and casinos will remain closed. In-person learning has ceased at all Michigan high schools and universities until the “pause” is over.
K-8 schools can remain open if the school district allows it. Gatherings are supposed to be kept to 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors. Salons and barber shops are still open, and fitness centers will be allowing individual exercising but no group classes.
“For the time that I’m in Michigan, I fully plan on staying at home,” Berg said. “I will be back in Findlay almost exactly when the three-week stay-at-home is lifted. I think this will be a good break for me, and all the time in the house will lead me to successfully completing my classes after thanksgiving.”
Thanksgiving falls right in the middle of Michigan’s pause, and with the gathering restrictions everyone getting together for the holiday is basically impossible.
“I usually go over to my aunt’s house and celebrate with my extended family and will now have to stay at home with my family for a smaller thanksgiving meal,” Falk said. “My grandma will also have to spend the holiday alone at home which makes me sad.”
Sunderman is also just celebrating Thanksgiving with her immediate family. Berg is escaping Michigan and travelling to Florida for a small six-person Thanksgiving.
The “pause” is troublesome for students who have at-risk relatives.
“It’s also going to be extremely hard for me to visit my grandma wearing PPE and not be able to hug her. Knowing that this is going to be one of the last times you get to see someone, and that they won’t be able to see your face and hug you is gut wrenching,” Berg added. “But hearing ‘I love you’ in person and not over the phone will have to suffice.”
Many Michiganders wonder whether the “pause” will stop the rise of COVID-19 cases. Some have protested the pause’s implementation. Some Michiganders call Whitmer incompetent and inadequate. There is even a petition circling the state for her impeachment. While the petition is gaining some traction in the state, it doesn’t seem to pose a real threat to Gov. Whitmer or her order to “pause” the state.
“I am concerned about an increase in violence from those who feel that their freedoms are being infringed on by being required to keep their neighbors safe,” Berg said.
The “pause” promises to bring a lot of change to Michigan, and it could be extended beyond the initial three-week period. Falk thinks this as well.
“I feel like the lock down will be extended after Dec. 8 because the first time we went on lockdown it got extended for three months,” Falk explained. “I also feel like more places and things will just keep shutting down more and more.”
Berg and Sunderman agreed with Falk, saying that future shutdowns in Michigan are likely.
“Everything is so unpredictable in these times and you never know when things will be shut down or when things will open back up,” Sunderman stated. “I think it is just a matter of determining whether the safety of Michigan residents is more important than the profit of businesses. It is a hard distinction, but I think Gov. Whitmer is doing the best she can given the circumstances.”