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Ann Arbor’s Meri Lou Murray Recreation Center modifies hours

ANN ARBOR – The Meri Lou Murray Recreation Center will be modifying its hours starting on Wednesday in response to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ latest emergency order and Washtenaw County Administrator Gregory Dill’s recent announcement that all non-essential services will be closing in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The reduction of hours at the recreation center follows MDHHS’ “three-week pause” order, which runs Wednesday through Dec. 8.

New facility hours through Dec. 8:

  • Monday through Friday: 7 a.m. to noon, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Saturday: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Sunday: Closed

The facility will be closed Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

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For the next three weeks, the building will be open only to members at 25% capacity. The indoor pool will remain open with four lanes available.

Staff will continue to coordinate with the Washtenaw County Administrator and the Washtenaw County Health Department as measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 evolve.

“The unprecedented nature of this pandemic has required adaptability,” Diane Carr, Recreation Center Superintendent, said in a news release. “Washtenaw County Parks is committed to keeping our community healthy and safe, and we will continue to follow the direction of our County Administration and the experts at the Health Department to guide our decision-making during this time. The health and safety of our members and our staff, have and always will be our top priority.”

Meri Lou Murray Recreation Center is at 2960 Washtenaw Ave.

For facility updates and other park changes, visit washtenaw.org/parks.

Copyright 2020 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit – All rights reserved.

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Ann Arbor closing city hall, indoor recreation facilities amid surge in COVID-19 cases

ANN ARBOR, MI — In response to the surge in COVID-19 cases and the state’s new emergency order temporarily shuttering certain workplaces, Ann Arbor is closing city hall again and making changes to city operations.

“We are planning to close city hall to the public starting Wednesday for the duration of the three-week period or pause,” City Administrator Tom Crawford said. “During that time, we will continue our services online, by mail and by phone.”

Residents will be able to access pretty much all the city services they need in those ways, Crawford said Monday night, Nov. 16, announcing the changes to City Council.

“We’re also closing all of our indoor recreation facilities,” he said.

Essential city services will continue, Crawford said.

“You know, the police, fire, water, storm, refuse collection — all of that will continue,” he said.

All the latest on the coronavirus in Michigan: Tuesday, Nov. 17

With COVID-19 cases surging, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued the new emergency order Sunday. It’s described as a three-week pause to save lives, targeting indoor gatherings.

“Right now, there are thousands of cases a day and hundreds of deaths a week in Michigan, and the number is growing,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. “If we don’t act now, thousands more will die, and our hospitals will continue to be overwhelmed. We can get through this together by listening to health experts once again and taking action right now to slow the spread of this deadly virus.”

Workplaces, when work can be done from home, are not to be open while the order is in effect.

Michigan lists 260 new coronavirus outbreaks and 723 ongoing clusters in Nov. 16 report

“Our employees are moving to mandated telecommuting service if they’re able to for their job,” Crawford said. “Obviously we have a number of employees who that doesn’t apply to, but if they can, they will be.”

City staff will continue to support the city’s boards and commissions, which have been meeting virtually, but some of the work they request “may be delayed a bit as we go through this time of stretched capabilities,” Crawford said.

City hall was closed to the public for nearly three months after the coronavirus pandemic hit in March. It reopened in June with new mask requirements and other safety protocols.

Officials issue open letter after significant rise of COVID-19 cases in Washtenaw County

As of 11 a.m. Monday, there were 140 more confirmed COVID-19 cases among county residents in the last 24 hours, the Washtenaw County Health Department reported.

There also were 1,237 cases locally, including three deaths, during a two-week period from Oct. 29 to Nov. 11, according to the department. The number of confirmed and probable cases among county residents is now up to 7,859, including 560 hospitalizations and 128 deaths.

COVID-19 case trends in Washtenaw County

COVID-19 case trends in Washtenaw County.Washtenaw County Health Department

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Dozens of homeless people staying at Ann Arbor hotel to be relocated to shelters

ANN ARBOR, MI — After weeks or months of staying in rooms at Red Roof Inn, dozens of Washtenaw County’s homeless residents are being cleared out of the Plymouth Road hotel as a new development on the site moves forward.

While officials say they’re making arrangements to relocate them to new shelter spaces, activist group Washtenaw Camp Outreach staged a protest outside the hotel Wednesday, Oct. 28, questioning the county’s homelessness response amid the COVID-19 pandemic and what it described as pending evictions this weekend for those at the hotel.

“Washtenaw Camp Outreach, as well as several other organizations and individuals from within the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti community, maintain that this is not the time to evict dozens of people experiencing homelessness, with an insufficient contingency plan, in order to make room for new commercial development,” the group said in a statement.

“The priority now must be the safety of our community, and the county has an obligation to prioritize public health over economic expansion.”

Demonstrators carried signs with messages such as “Housing is a human right,” “Dignified housing for all” and “Your luxury development is our displacement.”

The group complains the homeless are being forced back into overcrowded shelters, losing privacy, autonomy and dignity they have had at Red Roof Inn.

The group also is concerned some may end up on the street as cold weather sets in, a situation officials hope to prevent.

One of the Red Roof Inn buildings, which housed dozens of homeless residents starting shortly after the pandemic started, was shut down at the end of September, and a second that has housed dozens more will be shut down in the coming days.

City Council approved a developer’s plan for redevelopment of the site back in July, paving the way for a six-story Hampton Inn and a Panera Bread restaurant.

Leaders from Washtenaw County’s Office of Community and Economic Development and the nonprofit Shelter Association of Washtenaw County responded to the complaints about the Red Roof Inn arrangement ending, suggesting a partnership with one or more other hotels may be coming, though some of the homeless will be transitioning into congregate shelter.

No shelter clients at Red Roof Inn will be displaced, OCED Director Teresa Gillotti said.

Some will be relocated to the Delonis Center, a congregate shelter run by the Shelter Association in downtown Ann Arbor, and others will go into a rotating church shelter program starting Nov. 2, Gillotti said.

A number of churches have offered space for the rotating shelter, which is starting earlier than usual this year, and they can shelter about 20 to 25 people each night, she said.

The shift to congregate shelter was a difficult decision, she said, and it’s only made possible by the fact that there has been some CARES Act funding to accelerate rapid-rehousing for clients at Red Roof Inn, providing case management and rental assistance to support permanent housing placements.

There were 106 rooms between the two Red Roof Inn buildings used as shelter space

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