502 W. Washington St. Marquette, MI

COVID-19 Update 10/6/20

Statement from Matt Gougeon, MFC General Manager

The Michigan Supreme Court has ruled as unconstitutional Governor Whitmer’s use of Emergency Powers to write executive orders (EOs) that protect and keep safe Michigan residents in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Ultimately, this means that the Governor’s EOs to date will be revoked. This includes orders for the mask mandate, limits on numbers of people in gatherings and in businesses, restrictions on bars and restaurants, and more. The Governor will now be required to work with the State Legislature on any future effort to respond to the pandemic within the state. Functionally, this means that our state legislature will control and approve future pandemic rules in Michigan. There is, however, a 21- day period before any change may occur based on further clarification being written by the court. It is unknown when the 21- day period begins.

However, as our Governor has indicated, local units of government at the county level may institute their own emergency rules and some counties have begun to do so. I have no indication whether Marquette County will take any such action. The Governor also indicated that other state agencies may fill the gaps left by her being stripped of her leadership powers. As such, yesterday, October 5, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has decreed its own statewide emergency executive order that essentially mimics the Governor’s mask mandate, limits on gatherings of people, and bar and restaurant restrictions. The Public Health Code gives the Director of the MDHHS the ability to prohibit gatherings and proscribe other regulations necessary to prevent disease, prolong life, and promote public health. The department notes the statute from which it derives this authority was passed in response to the 1918 Spanish Flu and was specifically intended to address epidemics. It is a misdemeanor to violate this order, and violators are subject to imprisonment of not more than 6 months or a fine of up to $200 or both.

Further, with the full-throated support of our Board of Directors, who are elected as representatives of our entire ownership, we will not change any of our current Covid-19 Policies and Procedures. This includes (but is not limited to) our mask usage requirement and our reasonable accommodations available to those unable or unwilling to wear a mask, like wearing a bandana or face shield and using Co-op Grocery Pickup with curbside delivery. We remain committed to the health and safety of all our staff and of our shoppers, owners or otherwise. Current policies and procedures will remain in effect for the foreseeable future until such time as the pandemic outlook may allow for amendment.

I want to thank everyone for compliance with these policies. It’s been a long seven months. But thus far, we have proven our efforts at keeping everyone safe are working. It takes each of us doing our small unselfish part to keep the Co-op whole. Frankly, it’s the only way the Co-op model functions. I’m certain that there are better days ahead. In the meantime, our collective attention to care and cooperation will help this organization remain the beacon of good food, health, and hope that we all rely upon.

Feel good. Shop the Co-op.