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Community updates: Monday, July 13

Grand Rapids Art Museum reopening August 1; The Rapid launches app, web pilot program for GO!Bus riders; and Gov. Whitmer extends protections for nursing homes, grocery stores.
Expanded safety measures will be in place upon the Grand Rapids Art Museum's reopening.

Expanded safety measures will be in place upon the Grand Rapids Art Museum's reopening. /Experience Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids Art Museum reopening August 1

The Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) will be reopening to the public on August 1, it announced Monday, after four months of shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A soft reopening for GRAM Members will take place on July 25, 28, and 30.

Expanded safety measures will be in place upon reopening, such as online ticketing, required face coverings, and physical distancing.

“I’m thrilled to announce the Grand Rapids Art Museum’s reopening and welcome everyone back to our galleries,” GRAM Director and CEO Dana Friis-Hansen said. “The wellbeing of our staff, volunteers, and guests remains our top priority, and we’re excited to reopen our doors with enhanced precautions and limited hours so our visitors can safely enjoy the transformational power of art.”

For the time being, the GRAM will only be open to the public three days week: Tuesdays from 12-6pm, Thursdays from 12-9pm, and Saturdays from 12-6pm. Member-only hours will happen 10am-12pm on Saturdays.

Admission will be free for the public during all open hours on Tuesdays and from 5-9pm on Thursdays, as part of the museum’s Meijer Free Days.

With public safety in mind, visitors are encouraged to reserve advance tickets online, which will be at a 10% discount. Other safety protocols include the face covering requirement, required temperature checks upon arrival of all staff, visitors, and volunteers, touch-free interactions at the Visitor Services desk, and more.

The temporary exhibitions on display will be A New State of Matter: Contemporary Glass and Useful Beauty: Design Highlights from the Permanent Collection. These exhibitions were on display when the museum closed in March, and have been extended through October 4 and November 1, respectively. The GRAM’s rotating permanent collection will also be on view.

Updated details on the GRAM’s phased reopening will be shared on its website.


The Rapid launches app, web pilot program for GO!Bus riders

The Rapid announced on Monday it’s launching a six-month pilot program which will utilize a mobile app and web portal for its GO!Bus riders.

Called GO!Bus Plus, the program aims to improve mobility options and enhance the independence of riders using the GO!Bus service. GO!Bus is a paratransit service providing pre-scheduled rides for ADA-verified residents with disabilities, and all non-disabled seniors aged 65 and older.

Until the pilot program, GO!Bus rides could only be scheduled over the phone.

“While facing the current pandemic situation, our ability to offer a variety of mobility options for our customers is even more critically important,” said Steve Schipper, Interim Chief Operating Officer at The Rapid. “GO!Bus Plus is the latest in a series of pilots and programs informing how The Rapid can best serve our region in the future.”

The program is in partnership with Kaizen Health, Disability Advocates of Kent County, and the City of Grand Rapids. It also aligns with the City of Grand Rapids’ strategic plan, which calls for creating an accessible, multi-modal transportation experience in the city.

More details about the GO!Bus Plus service are available on The Rapid’s website.


Gov. Whitmer extends protections for nursing homes, grocery stores

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued two executive orders on Monday extending COVID-19 protections in long-term care facilities and maintaining two hours of reserved shopping time for vulnerable Michiganders.

“The frontline workers across the state have been the heroes of this pandemic and we must do everything we can to protect both them and our most vulnerable Michiganders,” said Whitmer. “This virus is still widespread and poses a real danger to our families, and these extensions will be crucial in protecting both frontline workers, customers, and our most vulnerable populations.”

For long-term care facilities, its COVID-related protocols have been extended through August 10. Included in the protocols are protecting residents from eviction, protecting staff from discriminatory action for staying home when exhibiting symptoms, requiring facilities to use reasonable efforts to create dedicated units for residents affected by COVID-19, and more.

Reserved grocery shopping time for vulnerable populations has also been extended through August 10. The minimum amount of reserved shopping time is two hours, for both grocery stores and pharmacies.

Another extended grocery story protection under Whitmer’s order is the requirement of stores to notify staff when a staff member tests positive for COVID-19, without infringing on private health information. A third is requiring grocery stores to offer accommodations to vulnerable staff, such as low-risk assignments or a leave of absence.

More details about Whitmer’s orders are available on the Executive Orders page on her official website.


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