Michigan DNR updates opening dates and modifications for public outdoor recreation sites | Coronavirus

To help slow the spread of the coronavirus and carry out Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s extended “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order through May 15, the Department of Natural Resources has updated expected opening dates and available amenities at many of its public outdoor recreation sites and facilities.

Most state parks and recreation areas and state-managed trails and boating access sites remain open to provide local opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, but social distancing is key. Federal and state health officials consistently have said that keeping at least 6 feet away from those outside your household is vital to containing the virus spread.

Proposed facility reopening dates are based on the updated stay-at-home executive order that ends May 15 and are staggered to allow for proper preparation. Details on closures and changes in services, as well as frequently asked questions, are available on the DNR’s COVID-19 response webpage at Michigan.gov/DNR.

The changes and planned public opening dates include the following, but further changes to the EO could affect these plans:

Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division, said he and his staff are eager to welcome back campers and visitors, but proper safety precautions and maintenance work must happen first.

“We know millions of residents are eager to return to state parks and recreation areas, and we will be here to serve them and make their visits as enjoyable as possible, but we have to open the right way and be certain that facilities and sites are clean, safe and ready to accommodate everyone,” Olson said.


To prepare state-managed parks, trails and boating facilities, many important tasks must be completed once nonessential work is permitted. The department anticipates staff can start work May 15 once the stay-at-home order is lifted; prep work is expected to take roughly five weeks. Duties include:

  • Acquiring drinking water permits from county health departments.
  • Opening bathrooms.
  • Hiring and training seasonal staff.
  • Ensuring sanitation systems are running efficiently.
  • Making progress on infrastructure needs.
  • Other operational duties.


Camping and overnight lodging reservations for dates between May 15 and June 21 have been canceled, but the following reimbursement options are available:

  • Request to change reservation dates to later in the season (pending availability within the reservation booking window) and earn a free night for that time period. No reservation fees or cancellation/modification fees will be charged. Reservation holders who want this option must contact the call center at 800-447-2757 by May 15 at 8 p.m.
  • Choose a full refund to automatically be applied to original payment method, including the reservation fee. Reservation holders DO NOT need to take any action; all remaining reservations will automatically be canceled after May 15, and an email will be sent when the refund is completed. No cancellation/modification fees will be charged.

In addition, reservation holders whose camping reservations for stays between March 23 and May 15 were canceled due to COVID-19 are eligible

How to safely commute, go shopping, and go on vacation as states reopen for business during the coronavirus pandemic

A coronavirus vaccine remains far off, but the stay-at-home orders in many states are starting to lift, if they haven’t already.

That means millions of Americans can step outside their door and go to reopened retail stores, restaurants, gyms, parks and other public venues across the country.

They’ll be finding a world that’s vastly different from the last time they visited a doctor’s office, travelled, grabbed a cup of coffee or sat at their office desk.

For example, under state laws, Georgia hairdressers need to take a customer’s temperature. Colorado’s rules will let employers fill their offices with only 50% of their workforce and retail stores in Florida can only fill up to a quarter of capacity.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say everyone — from workplaces to schools to homes — needs to come up with plans on when they should clean (which removes germs and dirt) and when to go further and disinfect (which kills germs on surfaces).

So people can start getting back to everyday life — but should they? And how to do it now that social distancing is the watchword to slow the spread of COVID-19?

The question of “should” is a choice everyone will have to decide for themselves.

As for the “how,” MarketWatch looked at the various scenarios people may have to navigate.

Rethink your commuting routine and your work habits

Millions of Americans have been working from home since March, but at some point their employers will want them to return to the office.

Forty percent of employers told Mercer, the human resources consulting firm, that after shelter-in-place rules end, they’ll keep employees working remotely until they deem it safe to return. Roughly 20% of polled companies said they would ask workers to come back as soon as possible.

About 60% of the surveyed companies said they would alternate workers on-site; one tactic was shifts based on alphabetical order.

Returning to work means commuting, potentially on a bus or train, and spending the majority of the day in an office with break rooms, conference rooms, bathrooms and other shared spaces.

Visualize every part of your home-to-work commute routine.

People should visualize every part of that home-to-work routine, said Dr. Tista Ghosh, senior medical director of Grand Rounds, a healthcare assistance platform helping users with appointments and questions about billing and diagnoses.

That means being aware of all the rails, buttons, handles and seats you might touch along the way. A commuter can avoid them, bring gloves, or do both, she said. Don’t forget a face mask, she emphasized. If there’s discomfort wearing it, Ghosh said to think of it this way: “It’s not protecting you, it’s protecting others…it’s like you’re doing your part.”

Don’t miss:Baby Yoda, Batman and Billie Eilish face masks — companies look to make social distancing more fun for families

At the office, people should ditch their office supply-sharing habits for now, Ghosh said. She also advised people to bring their lunches

The Wealthy Flee Coronavirus. Vacation Towns Respond: Stay Away.

People with second homes in the Catskills region of New York are being warned to stay away in venom-laced Facebook posts and blunt messages from county officials.

Boardwalks and beaches in some Jersey Shore towns are barricaded and residents are urging the closure of coastal access bridges to outsiders.

In the Hamptons, the famous playground for the rich on the East End of Long Island, locals are angry that an onslaught of visitors has emptied out grocery store shelves.

This clash between year-round residents and those with the means to retreat to vacation homes intensified on Tuesday as White House officials advised anyone who had passed through or fled New York City to place themselves in a 14-day quarantine.

“They’re pumping gas. They’re stopping at grocery stores,” said Kim Langdon, 48, of Ashland, N.Y. “If they’re infected and they don’t know it, they’re putting everyone at risk.”

The expletive-filled commentary on a Catskills Facebook page was less subtle.

“The only cases in Greene County were brought here from downstate people so stay down there,” one man wrote. “Just because you have a second home up here doesn’t mean you have the right to put us at risk.”

Mayors, town supervisors and the governors of at least two states have warned part-time residents of tourist destinations to stay away.

“We don’t want your bugs,” said Linda Michel, 71, of Surf City, on Long Beach Island in New Jersey, about 100 miles south of Manhattan. Ms. Michel, who wore blue plastic gloves into a grocery store, said the bridge that connects Long Beach Island to the mainland should be closed to all except year-round residents who hold disaster re-entry passes.

“The problem with the island is you do not have the resources,” she said.

Across the country, similar tensions between locals and seasonal visitors are bubbling to the surface as efforts to confront the pandemic have led the nation to navigate uncharted territory.

The governor of Florida has ordered anyone who traveled from the New York region in the last three weeks to remain under quarantine for 14 days. Officials in vacation hubs on North Carolina’s Outer Banks have barred nonresidents as cases of the highly contagious virus creep south along the East Coast.

In New Jersey, Gov. Philip D. Murphy made an unequivocal plea for those with shore houses to stay away.

“We all love the summer people,” said Joseph Mancini, the mayor of Long Beach Township, N.J. “They drive our economy. But when they come down here now, the services here aren’t geared up for them.”

He estimated that

My Family Is Trapped In Paradise During The Coronavirus Pandemic, But It’s No Vacation

I am hand-washing our laundry for the second time in three days. The first time, I packed our wet clothes in a fury as we raced from the northern Balinese fishing village of Lovina to Denpasar, in the south, hoping to catch a flight home.

An hour into our drive, a mechanical issue with our scooter had us back at our homestay, our hastily packed, still-damp laundry now smelling of warm, wet dog.

COVID-19 is forcing my family to end our six-month Bali adventure earlier than planned.

My family and I live aboard our sailboat off the west coast of Canada. Both work-from-home writers, my husband and I homeschool our two youngest children. While living at sea offers us a peaceful and wildly beautiful life, it can make for some rugged and challenging conditions. So it was that we decided to spend the winter in the warm, tropical embrace of Bali.

Bali has long been a popular tourist destination known for its vibrant culture and spirited citizens. Spending six months in this magical land was to be a homeschooler’s dream ― language, culture, nature and global citizenry all wrapped up in one endless educational experience.

We arrived last October and set about exploring the island’s abundant temples, near-daily ceremonies and simply gorging ourselves on fruit. Then January happened.

Reports began trickling through to mainstream media about a small outbreak of a pneumonia-like illness out of Wuhan, China. On Feb. 1, I received the first email from the Canadian Embassy about the novel coronavirus with generalized information for travelers on following basic health precautions. We carried on exploring rice fields, taking jungle hikes and meeting locals who helped us along as we practiced speaking Indonesian.

I now receive a daily email with increasingly urgent language and instructions from the Canadian Embassy on the sole topic of COVID-19.

So, what’s it really like to be trapped in paradise during a global pandemic?

It’s scary. It’s beautiful. It’s filled with anxiety and fear and calm and peace. I vacillate between wanting to just get home and wanting to just stay put.

Do we risk exposure in the travel home or do we risk staying here? I live in doubt followed by firm decisions, only to encounter more doubt, rethinking and changing plans, and, through it all, daily life continues around my family and me.

Do we risk exposure in the travel home or do we risk staying here? I live in doubt followed by firm decisions, only to encounter more doubt, rethinking and changing plans, and, through it all, daily life continues around my family and me.

We have been staying at a homestay, Bali’s version of a bed and breakfast. Staying here long-term through the pandemic would mean renting a villa ― a home where we can properly isolate ourselves if the Indonesian government orders us into lockdown. And suddenly, a whole new realm of logistics opens before me of navigating morning markets and setting up a house with nothing more than

NBC To Show ‘Parks And Recreation’ Reunion To Raise Money For Coronavirus Relief

A special “Parks and Recreation” reunion will be arriving April 30 on NBC.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the reunion will follow Leslie Knope as she remains “determined to stay connected with her friends and colleagues during a time of social distancing.” THR reported the main cast members will all be in the reunion, including Chris Pratt and Nick Offerman. (REVIEW: William Finds His Purpose In The New ‘Westworld‘ Episode ‘Decoherence,’ Maeve Is On The Warpath Against Dolores)

The reunion will raise money for Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund. State Farm, Subaru and NBCUniversal have all agreed to pitch in money to help in the relief efforts.

You can watch Amy Poehler break down the situation below.

This is a genius idea by NBC. “Parks and Rec” is one of the greatest shows ever made and there’s no doubt about that at all.

It’s right in the tier below “The Office” and “Always Sunny.” It’s withstood the test of time, has millions of dedicated fans, gave the world Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson and introduced us to Chris Pratt.

It’s one of the most inspiring and uplifting shows you’ll ever find. Now, we’re getting a special reunion episode when we need it more than ever.

This upcoming Friday, we’ll return to Pawnee for a special shot in the actors’ homes. It’s a unique situation, but I think it’ll be very entertaining.

Make sure to tune in April 30 on NBC! It should be a hell of a fun time.

Source Article

Inslee says elective surgeries, outdoor recreation and some construction could restart as Washington begins to recover from coronavirus

OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee Tuesday evening announced a road map for reopening Washington’s economy that could soon allow the return of some elective surgeries, outdoor recreation and certain construction projects.

In a 5 p.m. televised public address, Inslee didn’t say when the stay-at-home order — scheduled to lift at the end of the day on May 4 — might start to be rolled back. The plan would only move forward, he said, once cases of the new coronavirus have fallen enough that the state is able to manage future outbreaks.

But Inslee said that data on cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, was beginning to look favorable.

If that continues, Inslee said, elective surgeries could begin again soon, as well as some outdoor recreation. Meanwhile, the governor’s office has agreed upon a plan with the construction industry and labor unions, “allowing limited return to construction with safety measures in place,” he said.

“We can modify some of these restrictions in the coming weeks, if the health modeling holds up,” Inslee said. But, “The health of Washingtonians is our top priority.”

The governor has said at least some restrictions are likely to stay in place longer than May 4.

Inslee’s three-part plan includes massive statewide testing, teams of workers performing contact tracing, resources for mental health and homelessness and a phased-in reopening of certain businesses while continuing social distancing.

The plan would make sure the state could quickly tamp down new outbreaks of COVID-19, reopen the economy in phases and help workers and businesses recover from the economic downturn.

The governor has emphasized that his decision to lift temporary restrictions such as the stay-at-home order — which shuttered thousands of businesses and maintained a ban on large gatherings — will be driven by public health data. One of the key indicators will be if the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to trend down over time.

As of Tuesday, there were 12,282 cases of COVOD-19 in Washington, including 682 deaths.

The plan envisions rapid and wide-scale testing across the state, as well as a surge in contact tracing. The state Department of Health (DOH) is working with county public health agencies to create a plan for extensive contact tracing, in which staff track down those who had direct contact with people who test positive for the coronavirus.

Inslee described the 1,500 people being brought on to do contact tracing — a mix of state and local health workers, members of the National Guard and volunteers — as a “rapid response” team. They could start operating by the second week of May, he added.

State officials aren’t saying yet how much it will cost. At a news briefing earlier in the day the governor’s chief of staff, David Postman, only said that Inslee told him to “go big, be aggressive and find people where you can get them.”

To successfully reopen, the state ultimately needs to be able to conduct between 20,000 and 30,000 tests daily for the

Tahoe towns ask vacation homes to stop rentals amid coronavirus outbreak

South Lake Tahoe city officials sent a message on Monday to all vacation homeowners, short term rental property owners, hotels and motels to stop rentals immediately amid the coronavirus outbreak. The city is requesting rentals stop until at least April 23. The immediate request for all vacation homeowners to stop rentals comes after the city saw thousands of visitors last weekend despite Gov. Gavin Newsom’s mandatory order to stay at home order.Mayor Jason Collin said visitors are traveling for non-essential needs, and could be held accountable for a misdemeanor charge.“We are very kindly asking people to not to come to Tahoe. We love our visitors, we just don’t want you here right now,” Collin said. City officials are concerned about visitors coming into town given their limited health care resources. Barton Memorial Hospital is the only hospital for the city. The hospital has nine ICU beds, according to a hospital spokeswoman. Collin said the hospital has fewer than 10 ventilators. The hospital services up to 35,000 residents in the city and county alone, Collin said. “That’s not enough. That’s not enough for 30,000 people,” resident Shira Martorana said. Barton Health said it is working with other local hospitals to share resources in preparation for a potential influx of patients. In the meantime, residents like Martorana are applauding the city’s request to pause vacation rentals because she is especially prone to lung infections. “I survived swine flu in 2009, but I was sick for six weeks, in and out of the hospital three times. And so I have scar tissue in my lungs,” Martorana said. Kathy Liebhardt, owner of Tahoe Destination Vacation Rentals, agrees with the city’s decision to pause rentals to vacationers, but she is concerned about the timeline since city officials are asking all current renters to leave now. “I’m going to disagree with that. I have a family in from Australia. Where are they supposed to go? I can’t tell them just to leave,” Liebhardt said. “I have a family in from Germany, same situation. Am I supposed to just kick them out? Where are they supposed to go?”Liebhardt is letting her current renters stay put since their flights have been canceled, she is transforming her vacation properties from places of leisure into places of business moving forward.“If we have nurses that are needed up in Tahoe, I will put them up for housing. That’s the important point to push. I am not allowing vacationers to come up just because they need to come up,” Liebhardt said. The request from South Lake Tahoe is just that: A request, not a legal order. The mayor said enforcement of the request will be discussed at an emergency city council meeting on Wednesday. The mayor also added that while the request was sent to rental property permit holders, the same message applies to homeowners that have a second home in Tahoe, which is to stay home.City officials in Truckee posted a similar request on Facebook on Tuesday, saying, “Now is not …

Most Sports Fans Won’t Attend Games Without Coronavirus Vaccine, Poll Says

Spectator sports pondering a comeback in the coronavirus era got a harsh reality check in a new poll indicating that most fans will stay away.

In a Seton Hall University survey published Thursday, 72% of Americans said they would not attend games until a vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, is developed.

Only 13% said they would feel safe to attend under any circumstances, while 12% would go only if some form of social distancing was practiced.

The pandemic has decimated the sports calendar, shuttering Major League Baseball and the NBA indefinitely while postponing the Summer Olympics in Tokyo by a year. President Donald Trump conducted a conference call with sports officials last weekend to discuss the leagues’ potential return, but with a vaccine perhaps a year-and-a-half away, the prospect of luring back the faithful appears daunting ― at least according to the relatively small sample size of 762 Americans interviewed by phone in the poll. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.6 percentage points.

Those who thought the NFL should not open its season if social distancing rules are still in effect numbered 70%.

For sports like baseball that are floating the idea of playing in empty stadiums, the poll revealed that 76% would watch the games on TV with the same enthusiasm as before.

One health expert wasn’t surprised by the poll results.

“It’s understandable that people may feel hesitant to attend sporting events or other crowded events, even if restrictions for social distancing are lifted,” Dr. Roberto Posada, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital in New York City, told HuffPost on Friday. “While we hope that an effective vaccine will be developed, the process for vaccine development is slow and may take 12-18 months in a best-case scenario. Predicting what this virus will do in the next year would be very difficult, indeed impossible, at this point in time.”

A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus

Source Article

Colorado vacation rentals offered as coronavirus relief lodging

Colorado vacation rental companies, brought to a standstill by the novel coronavirus and ensuing stay-at-home orders, have banded together to provide optional lodging for people who have been adversely effected by the pandemic.

The relief program, started in late March in partnership with property owners, who like the companies provide relief housing for qualifying individuals, has been dubbed: “Vacation Rentals to the Rescue.”

The coordinated Colorado effort includes Premier Vacation Rentals, Effortless Rental Group in Denver, Red Cliffs Properties, Vacation Accommodations of Durango and the Vacation Rental Management Association.

Chris Bettin, founder and CEO of Premier Vacation Rentals Group

With ongoing networking additional property owners and companies may join the effort.

“Our company manages over 300 properties in 13 different markets. We’ve got over 40 properties who have volunteered for the program,” said Chris Bettin, founder and CEO of Premier Vacation Rentals Group. Premier has properties in Denver, Colorado Springs, Vail, Beaver Creek, Durango, Ouray, Ridgeway and Steamboat Springs, and other western cities outside of Colorado.

“We’ve housed just about everyone of those units we’ve had volunteered, (and) we’ve had a handful we haven’t filled,” Bettin said.

All combined, the participating companies and property owners have about 500 homes across multiple markets.

People who have been housed include first responders and frontline medical professionals, such as a sheriff’s deputy, a Veterans Affairs nurse and an emergency room physician, among others. Some participants have family members with autoimmune disorders, or who are highly susceptible to a virus, and the lodging provides much needed isolation. The lodging is not intended for use of someone who is positive for coronavirus.

A doctor in Durango is staying at a downtown property, relieved, for the moment, that he’s not going home to his family and risking them to possible exposure of coronavirus.

“As a family, we have gone through so much stress, fear, tears, and sleepless nights,” the doctor’s wife said in a written testimonial to the program. “This company has made an unbearable journey now bearable because we now have a safe place for Matt and a safe place for our family.”

Participants will qualify on a case-by-case basis and undergo a screening process including background checks. There’s a one-time damage waiver fee of $49. There’s also a one time cleaning fee, which varies depending on the property, and could run up to $150. Stays are based on weekly renewals and can be extended for multiple weeks. The fees are one time, whether the participant stays for a week or five weeks. Properties include condominiums, townhomes and single-family homes, some valued as high as $2 million.

People seeking to apply for the program can go online to the Premier Vacation Rentals website and click on the COVID-19 & Lodging bar at the top of the page. The program will last for at least as long as stay-at-home orders are in effect.

“Though we operate as competitors in a normal business environment, this crisis presents a unique opportunity for us to unite around a common

Coronavirus Is Spreading. Should You Cancel Your Vacation?

This article was last updated on March 17, and is no longer being updated. This is a fast-moving situation, so some information may be outdated. For the latest updates, read The New York Times’s live coronavirus coverage here.

With summer fast approaching, many families are wondering just how long coronavirus will remain at the center of our lives. The outbreak has sickened people worldwide and killed thousands, adding a new layer of anxiety when thinking about potential travel plans.

The disease, which was first identified in China, is now spreading widely in other areas of the world, and scores of people have become infected in the United States. In March, officials at the World Health Organization said the spread of coronavirus is now a pandemic.

[Track the spread of the disease.]

Here’s the bottom line: Right now, traveling presents a risk, even in the United States. We know that some U.S. communities are spreading the disease rapidly, but the full extent of its prevalence here is unknown because testing has been limited.

One of the most important things to think about is the well-being of your fellow passengers and family members. Even if you don’t fit the profile of someone who is at risk of developing severe symptoms, you might infect someone who is. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have posted several factors to take into consideration if you are still considering travel.

As we see transmission in communities within the United States, “any dense area of people will increase risk of exposure,” said Dr. Aaron M. Milstone, M.D., a professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “What we’re really trying to do right now is to slow the spread of the virus to give people time to prepare. One of the key ways to achieve that is social distancing.”

In March, the Walt Disney Company announced that it would close every Disney theme park worldwide, including Disney World in Florida and the Disneyland Resort in California, because of the coronavirus pandemic. Disney Cruise Line will also close. Other theme park operators, like Six Flags and Universal Parks and Resorts have also announced closures.

Some states and counties have already banned large gatherings, temporarily shuttering Broadway shows, museums and other tourist attractions because of the coronavirus. Nearly every major sporting event in the United States has been suspended or canceled. And the National Park Service recently announced that it will allow park superintendents to close park facilities and programs as they see fit.

The new coronavirus, which causes a respiratory illness known as Covid-19, appears to be more severe among older adults and those with underlying health conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease. Cases in children have so far been rare, and children with Covid-19 have generally exhibited mild symptoms.

Experts advised that everyone should be cautious about nonessential travel right now, and that’s especially the case for