Governor Whitmer Details Six Phases of MI Safe Start Plan

Governor Whitmer Details Six Phases of MI Safe Start Plan

Governor Gretchen Whitmer Banner - headshot with bridge graphic


May 7, 2020

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Governor Whitmer Details Six Phases of Her MI Safe Start Plan

Governor Announces Michigan is in Phase Three


LANSING, Mich. — Today, after announcing that Michigan’s manufacturing workers will return to work on Monday, May 11, Governor Gretchen Whitmer detailed the six phases of her MI Safe Start Plan to re-engage Michigan’s economy. The governor has worked with leaders in health care, business, labor, and education to develop the plan, and announced today that Michigan is in phase three.


The phases of the pandemic include:

1) UNCONTROLLED GROWTH: The increasing number of new cases every day, overwhelming our health systems.

2) PERSISTENT SPREAD: We continue to see high case levels with concern about health system capacity.

3) FLATTENING: The epidemic is no longer increasing and the health-system’s capacity is sufficient for current needs.

4) IMPROVINGCases, hospitalizations and deaths are clearly declining.

5) CONTAINING: Continued case and death rate improvements, with outbreaks quickly contained.

6) POST-PANDEMIC: Community spread not expected to return.

“I am working closely with health care experts and epidemiologists to closely monitor Michigan’s progress in the fight against COVID-19,” said Governor Whitmer. “As we move forward with the MI Safe Start Plan, I am working closely with partners in business, labor, and education to determine the best way to move forward each day. All of us know the importance of getting people back to work and the economy moving again. We’ve already reopened lower-risk sectors like construction, manufacturing, and lawn care.


“The worst thing we can do is open up in a way that causes a second wave of infections and death, puts health care workers at further risk, and wipes out all the progress we’ve made. That’s why we will continue to monitor the spread of this virus, hospital capacity, testing rates, and more as we work toward reaching the ‘improving’ phase.”


Click the link below for the governor’s full MI Safe Start Plan:


Governor Whimter Extends Executive Order Allowing Public Bodies to Meet Remotely

Governor Whimter Extends Executive Order Allowing Public Bodies to Meet Remotely

Governor Gretchen Whitmer Banner - headshot with bridge graphic


May 6, 2020



Governor Whitmer Extends Executive Order Allowing Public Bodies to Meet Remotely


LANSING, Mich. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer today signed Executive Order 2020-75, which extends a previous Executive Order that allows public bodies to conduct remote public meetings during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. Executive Order 75 expires on June 30, 2020.


“As we continue to flatten the curve, it’s important to give public bodies the flexibility they need to conduct virtual meetings and limit in-person contact,” Governor Whitmer said. “During this ongoing crisis, it’s critical to ensure public officials can continue to do their jobs and meet the needs of residents, while also ensuring meetings remain open, accessible and transparent to the public.”


Under Executive Order 2020-75, public bodies subject to the Open Meetings Act, including boards, commissions, committees, subcommittees, authorities, councils and nonprofit boards, can use telephone- or video- conferencing methods to continue meeting and conducting business during the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health crisis, so long as they follow certain procedures to ensure meaningful access and participation by members of the public body and the general public.


Public bodies must meet the following criteria when holding a public meeting electronically:

  • Ensure two-way communication for members and the public to hear and address each other when speaking.
  • Provide adequate notice to the public of the meeting.
  • Post a public meeting notice on their website.
  • Permit participants to record or broadcast the public meeting.
  • Allow participants to address the public body during a public comment period.


The order also temporarily authorizes public bodies, departments and agencies to use technology to enable remote participation in public comment and hearings, and temporarily excuses school boards from monthly meeting requirements.


Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at


To view Executive Order 2020-75, click the links below:

Governor Whitmer Takes Significant Step to Make Child Care Affordable

Governor Whitmer Takes Significant Step to Make Child Care Affordable

Governor Gretchen Whitmer Banner - headshot with bridge graphic


April 29, 2020



Governor Whitmer Takes Significant Step to Make Child Care Affordable and Accessible for Families


LANSING – Governor Gretchen Whitmer today announced a $130 million investment to make child care more affordable and accessible for Michigan families during the COVID-19 pandemic.


“Child care providers have been critical partners in helping our state respond to COVID-19, and we are extremely grateful for their service,” Governor Whitmer said. “Every child care provider and early educator is important in giving parents some peace of mind while they are delivering essential services to our state at this challenging time.”


Michigan has created the “Child Care Relief Fund” to provide direct, non-competitive grants to child care providers. These funds help ensure:

  • Child care providers currently serving essential workers remain open, and costs associated with providing care during the COVID-19 pandemic are not passed on to essential workers.
  • Child care providers can stay afloat during the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” state of emergency.
  • Child care is more affordable to families now, and as our economy begins to reopen.
  • Child care providers across the state have the resources needed to reopen for Michigan’s workforce when the recovery process of the current COVID-19 pandemic begins and more families are in need of child care options.


Michigan’s Child Care Relief Fund consists of $100 million in federal CARES Act funding and $30 million from the state’s child care fund, both dedicated to be used only for child care services.


Licensed child care centers, family group homes, tribal child care providers, provisional disaster relief child care centers, and subsidized license exempt providers are all eligible for Michigan’s Child Care Relief Fund grants.


Grant recipients must commit to reducing their weekly rates for families by at least 10 percent, and provide care for children of essential workers regardless of where their parents or caregivers work. Grant recipients must also agree not to charge a fee to hold a child’s spot in a program while receiving grant funds.


“These funds will help sustain high quality child care that is vital for Michigan’s children and families,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “Whether it’s to help child care providers cover fixed costs like their mortgage, utilities, insurance, or payroll, we wanted the funds to be as flexible as possible to meet their specific needs.”


The Child Care Relief Fund will be administered by the Michigan Department of Education’s Office of Child Development and Care – with support from the governor’s office and the Michigan Department of Labor and Regulatory Affairs. Beginning April 29, there will be a simple online application for child care providers to use at


Grants start at $1,500 for home-based providers and $3,000 for child care centers. Additional funds will be awarded based on the size of the provider, whether they are open and serving essential workers, and their quality rating.


In addition to this grant program, Michigan has also made important changes to the Child Development and Care program, commonly called the child care subsidy.


These changes ensure families can access the care they need and providers have some financial certainty. This includes continuing to review and approve applications; increasing the hours school age children can be in care; extending the deadline for re-determinations so families can continue to receive the subsidy during the crisis; and continuing to make subsidy payments based on the number of children enrolled in a program, not the number attending.


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Governor Whitmer Takes Significant Step to Make Child Care Affordable

Governor Whitmer Announces “Future for Frontliners”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer Banner - headshot with bridge graphic




For Immediate Release: 

April 29, 2020



Governor Whitmer Announces “Futures for Frontliners, a G.I. Bill Program for Essential Workers

Program Will Provide Tuition-Free Postsecondary Education Opportunities for Essential Workers; Governor Announces Other Initiatives to Protect Workers and Their Families During the Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic

LANSING, Mich. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer today announced a series of initiatives to help Michigan workers and their families during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including the “Futures for Frontliners” program to provide a tuition-free pathway to college or a technical certificate to essential workers who don’t have a college degree. This includes workers like the ones staffing our hospitals and nursing homes, stocking the shelves at grocery stores, providing child care to critical infrastructure workers, manufacturing PPE, protecting public safety, picking up trash, or delivering supplies.


“The Futures for Frontliners program is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to those who have risked their lives on the front lines of this crisis. This program will ensure tuition-free college opportunities and give these dedicated Michiganders an opportunity to earn a technical certificate, associate degree or even a bachelor’s degree,” Governor Whitmer said. “I want to assure all of our workers we will never forget those of you who stepped up and sacrificed their own health during this crisis. You’re the reason we’re going to get through this.”


The “Futures for Frontliners” program is the first of its kind in the country, and was inspired by the federal government’s support of soldiers returning from World War II by providing educational opportunities. Frontline workers who take advantage of this program will help us reach Governor Whitmer’s goal to increase the number of working-age adults with a technical certificate or college degree from 45% to 60% by 2030.  The Governor stated that she looks forward to working on enacting her proposal with the bipartisan legislative coalition that helped pass Reconnect last month, the program to offer adults over 25 without college degrees tuition-free access to community college.


Governor Whitmer also announced that she is expanding the state’s Workshare Program to allow employers to reduce employee hours to receive weekly unemployment insurance (UI) benefits as well as the additional $600 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) weekly benefit. Both benefits will be funded through federal dollars. Through July, the program can act as supplemental pay for critical infrastructure workers by allowing them to collect the extra $600 per week.


Governor Whitmer also called on leaders in Congress to support Sen. Gary Peters’ Heroes Fund to provide hazard pay for frontline workers putting their lives on the line to ensure access to life-saving care, food, and other critical services during the pandemic. It is estimated that more than three million of these essential workers are currently on the job in Michigan. Supported by Sens. Stabenow and Peters, the Heroes Fund proposal would provide these workers with an additional $13 per hour, up to $25,000, with an additional potential recruitment incentive of up to $15,000 for essential medical workers.


“No Michigander should have to worry about how to feed their family or pay rent during a crisis. And no Michigander should be scared to go to work,” said Governor Whitmer. “From the beginning, my team and I have been working around the clock to solve those problems for working families. And I will continue to fight for our working people long after this crisis is over.”





Oakland Together: COVID-19 Update and County Survey

Oakland Together: COVID-19 Update and County Survey


April 28, 2020

Oakland County Executive Biweekly Newsletter

Dear friends,

It has been seven weeks since our first resident tested positive for COVID-19. It is hard to fathom we have lost more than 600 of our residents to this terrible pandemic and over 6,500 have tested positive. Thankfully many are now recovered and the increase in cases and fatalities is slowing.

The Stay at Home order is working, and I want to thank you again for your patience in doing what is necessary to keep our communities safe. It is difficult and I understand that this pandemic is having an impact on both our health and economic well-being. Over 119,000 residents have filed for unemployment insurance benefits to get through the economic downturn.

As we begin to plan for a phased re-opening of our economy, we are focused on increased testing and growing our team of virus case investigators at our health division so we can monitor and trace the virus until there is a vaccine. We are also enhancing support for small businesses and community organizations that are both vital parts of the fabric of our county.

I hope you will take a few minutes to complete our COVID-19 Citizen survey.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and suggestions.



David Coulter
Oakland County Executive



Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing

Health Division and Honor Community Health Start Daily Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing at Oakland County Complex

The Oakland County Health Division and partner Honor Community Health offer drive-thru COVID-19 testing at the Oakland County Complex in Pontiac and South Oakland Health Center in Southfield. Testing is free and available to all residents. Appointments can be made through the Health Division’s Nurse on Call hotline at

1-800-848-5533. Tests are for anyone with symptoms and asymptomatic first responders, essential or critical infrastructure employees. Test results are expected in 24-48 hours. Testing is also available at the State Fairgrounds site on Woodward Avenue in Detroit. A doctor’s note is required for testing at this site. The county is planning to expand testing sites so please look for updates on our website.

Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 Get a Boost from Oakland County Stabilization Fund

Oakland County small businesses hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic will share $2.3 million in grants from the county’s small business stabilization fund. Over 700 businesses received funding during this first round. County Executive David Coulter has already proposed an additional round of funding.

“This fund was created in the early stages of this crisis when we knew small businesses would need immediate financial help to stabilize,” Coulter said. “They are the life blood of our economy and we wanted to get these grants into their hands as quickly as possible.”

The stabilization fund is comprised of a $1.15 million grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and a matching grant of $1.15 million from the Oakland County Board of Commissioners. The board also appropriated an additional $700,000 for the “Saving Business, Saving Lives’ grants for companies able to pivot from normal productions to manufacture personal protective equipment for health care workers and first responders.

More than 7,000 small businesses applied for grants, which would provide an immediate infusion of capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of business. Applications were sorted by 12 geographic districts and evaluated by a team of local economic leaders from each district. The maximum award was $10,000 although the average grant ranged from about $2,500 to $5,359, depending on the district.

Two Oakland County Manufacturers Receive Grants to Make Gear for Health Care and First Responders

An Oxford-based manufacturer of ice hockey equipment and a Pontiac company specializing in knitwear were awarded “Saving Business, Saving Lives” grants to make desperately needed personal protective equipment used in the fight against the coronavirus.

The grants, awarded to Vaughn Custom Sports and Detroit Sewn, were announced this week by Oakland County Executive David Coulter. They are the first two companies to receive grants from a $700,000 fund proposed by Coulter and approved by the county Board of Commissioners to incentivize Oakland County manufacturers who can shift production to personal protective equipment such as masks, gowns and face shields.

Vaughn Custom Sports, owned by Michael and Arlene Vaughn, manufactures protective equipment such as catch gloves, blockers, leg pads, pants, chest protectors, and sticks used by professional and amateur goalies throughout the world. They were awarded $50,000 to produce several thousand high-quality protective gowns and caps a week. The grant allows Vaughn to bring back employees and dramatically increase production.

Detroit Sewn, owned by Karen Buscemi, was awarded $25,000. It began operations in downtown Pontiac in 2015. The company specializes in knitwear such as T-shirts, bags, and other clothing items and is shifting production to making cotton fabric medical face masks for health care systems and first responders across the metro area. The grant will allow Detroit Sewn to invest in equipment and hire employees resulting in a significant increase in production.

Coulter Forms COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force

Oakland County Executive David Coulter announced the leadership team for his COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force to help advise on strategies to help stabilize the county’s economy and recover from the downturn caused by the pandemic.

The task force will provide recommendations to Coulter, the Board of Commissioners and the Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs as the county plans for the economic re-opening from the pandemic.

“We are in the middle of the health crisis, but we still need to take steps to stabilize our small businesses and non-profit organizations that represent the fabric of the county. Oakland County is the engine of the state’s economy, and we will take every step necessary to ensure that our companies and community organizations are in a position to lead again.”

The task force will be led by co-chairs:

  • Alan Kiriluk, founder and chairman of KIRCO, a Troy-based real estate development, construction and property management company
  • Pete Provenzano, chancellor of Oakland Community College
  • Shannon Striebich, president of St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital
  • Barbara Whittaker, a procurement and supply chain expert and president of BW Limited

The remaining task force members are:

  • Chris Barnett, Orion Township supervisor
  • Deb Brinson, Honor Community Health CEO
  • Wanda Cook-Robinson, Oakland Schools superintendent
  • Patty Corkery, Michigan Credit Union League general counsel
  • Eric Dietz, Huntington National Bank regional president
  • Darienne Driver, United Way of South East Michigan president/CEO
  • Mike Fournier, City of Royal Oak mayor
  • Mike Gingell, Oakland County Board of Commissioners member
  • Gerald Lang, UAW Local 5960, Vice President
  • Tom Kelly, Automation Alley executive director/CEO
  • Frank Rewold, Frank Rewold & Sons president/CEO
  • Bill Roberts, Roberts Restaurant Group proprietor
  • Robert Skandalaris, Quantum Ventures chairman/CEO
  • Rachel Tronstein, Gardner White president
  • David Woodward, Oakland County Board of Commissioners chairman
  • Christian Wuerth, Village of Milford manager
  • Patricia Yulkowski, Total Door CEO
  • Mike Sarafa, Vision Growth Partners, managing partner

The full task force includes representatives from education, foundations, local government, construction, restaurants, labor, health care, and business. The task force will focus on stabilization and recovery. As businesses begin to re-open, the task force will help identify strategies to assist in the recovery and help accelerate and sustain the rebound from the economic slowdown.

Citizen Survey

Please take a few minutes to share your views on how the pandemic is impacting you, your family and express your opinion on the next phase of our pandemic response in an advance of a further re-opening of our economy.


Updated COVID-19 Information

Oakland County Executive David Coulter wants you and your family to have the most current information about COVID-19 and how to stay safe.

Please go to for current information about the disease, ways to protect you and your family, and to find a host of timely and useful resources.

  • If you have immediate health-related questions, please call Nurse on Call at 1-800-848-5533 or email
  • For non-health questions or requests, contact the Oakland County Help Hotline at (248) 858-1000 or
  • If you would like to receive text message alerts with current COVID-19 information, text “oakgov” to 28748.

Oakland County is committed to keeping you safe and informed.


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