The Rapidian

COVID-19 in Grand Rapids: Friday, April 10 updates

City of Grand Rapids extends service changes following “Stay Home, Stay Safe” extension, Grand Rapids Public Museum and Michigan History Center launch documentation projects about life during pandemic, and more statements from area organizations issued April 10, 2020.
There are now 250 confirmed coronavirus cases and 13 confirmed deaths in Kent County, as of April 10, 2020.

There are now 250 confirmed coronavirus cases and 13 confirmed deaths in Kent County, as of April 10, 2020. /Experience Grand Rapids

Kent County enters the weekend with 250 confirmed coronavirus cases and 13 confirmed deaths. Statewide, there are now 22,783 confirmed cases and 1,281 deaths. These numbers, reported by the State of Michigan, are as of today, April 10.

Shared in this Friday, April 10, update are continued coronavirus responses relevant to local life from the City of Grand Rapids, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Office, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Grand Rapids Public Museum, the Michigan History Center, and the Fulton Street Farmers Market.

 

City of Grand Rapids extends service changes following “Stay Home, Stay Safe” extension

City Manager Mark Washington announced today, April 10, the extension of previously announced City of Grand Rapids service adjustments through Thursday, April 30 – unless otherwise noted. The extension aligns with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Thursday, April 9, extension of the statewide “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order through April 30.

Whitmer’s extension of the stay-at-home order guarantees the continued requirement of all workers who are not necessary to sustain or protect life to stay home – for an additional 17 days beyond its initial length. It also guarantees the continued limiting of gatherings and travel, as well new restrictions imposed on still-open stores in an effort to reduce crowds.

“We have a responsibility to our residents and our employees,” Washington said. “That’s why it’s important we do what we can to stop the spread of COVID-19 and maintain the critical services our community depends on.”

The City of Grand Rapids service adjustments remaining in effect include the closure of City buildings to walk-in traffic and online-only City Commission meetings.

More information about the continued service adjustments is available on the City of Grand Rapids’ website.

The City of Grand Rapids also announced today, April 10, that its Neighborhood Match Fund (NMF) will now award contracts to local residents who are organizing projects that focus on coronavirus resiliency and recovery in non-contact ways.

The NMF regularly awards contracts to residents organizing projects and opportunities that bring neighbors together to learn, build relationships, and celebrate community. While these themes remain, the focus is now on how they fit within the context of the coronavirus pandemic.

The City of Grand Rapids is accepting project submissions through Sunday, April 19, for projects set to take place in Grand Rapids between Friday, May 1, and Monday, August 10.

More information about the NMF awards and submission process is also available on the City of Grand Rapids’ website.

 

Self-employed, other newly eligible workers able to apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance on Monday, April 13

The Office of Gov. Whitmer announced today, April 10, that self-employed workers, gig workers, 1099-independent contractors, and low-wage workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic can apply for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) beginning Monday, April 13, at 8am.

Under the federal CARES Act, workers on state unemployment have already begun receiving the set $600 federal weekly payment in addition to their state benefit amount. Michigan is one of the first states to begin sending the $600 payment.

“Ensuring Michiganders have access to state and federal benefits during this pandemic is a critical part in protecting everyone’s health and safety,” Gov. Whitmer said. “We will do everything we can to continue providing emergency financial assistance as quickly as possible to the Michigan working families who have lost income as a result of COVID-19.”

Newly eligible workers who have yet to apply for unemployment benefits are encouraged by Whitmer’s Office to do so online, as this is the fastest and easiest way to access these benefits.

Self-employed workers, gig workers, 1099-independent contractors, and low-wage workers who had previously applied for unemployment benefits and been denied can log in to their Michigan Web Account Manager (MiWAM) account to complete the next steps for PUA federal benefits. These steps will also be emailed to workers.

They should not file a new claim, as that may delay the time it takes to get their benefits,” Whitmer’s Office added in a statement.

More information about the PUA application process is available on Whitmer’s Office’s website.

 

Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Department of the Treasury launch new tool to help non-filers register for economic impact payments

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury launched a new online tool today, April 10, to help residents who normally don’t file taxes quickly register for economic impact payments.

The payments – part of the CARES Act – come in response to the economic fallout continuing nationwide as physical distancing measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus persist.

The non-filer tool provides a free and easy option designed for residents who don't have a return filing obligation, including those with too little income to file. The feature is available only on IRS.gov.

"People who don't have a return filing obligation can use this tool to give us basic information so they can receive their Economic Impact Payments as soon as possible," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. "The IRS and Free File Alliance have been working around the clock to deliver this new tool to help people."

More information about the tool for non-filers is available on the IRS’ website.

 

Grand Rapids Public Museum launches community documentation project about local life during pandemic

The Gran Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) announced today, April 10, that it's actively collecting digital submissions for its community documentation project about the coronavirus pandemic’s impact in the local area.

Digital submissions can include stories, videos, or photos from local residents related to the pandemic’s impact, which will help to ensure the local pandemic experience is documented for future generations.

We want to do our part in making sure that we’re documenting history as it happens, especially since this pandemic has dramatically shifted life for the people of West Michigan and beyond,” said Alex Forist, the GRPM’s Chief Curator. “We hope to collect a variety of stories from community members so we can accurately portray what life was truly like during the pandemic, while also creating an archive for future generations to remember this time.”

When it’s safe to do so, the GRPM will begin collecting objects related to the pandemic as well. Objects may include products and signage made by local businesses, homeschool lesson plans, and grocery lists. To ensure all health care workers have the resources needed during this time, the GRPM will not accept medical items, such as N95 masks, until the pandemic is over.

More information about the community documentation project and its submission process is available on the GRPM's website.

 

Michigan History Center launches collecting initiative about Michigan life during pandemic

Also documenting life during the coronavirus pandemic is the Michigan History Center (MHC), who announced today, April 10, its new collecting initiative that gives Michiganders the opportunity to share stories reflecting their experiences during this time.

The first phase of the three-phase collecting initiative is now active. This phase sees the MHC sharing an online platform for Michiganders to share and donate photos, videos, and audio files that document their daily lives during the pandemic – all of which will be considered for preservation in the Archives of Michigan’s collections.

“Archives and museums preserve and share the real stuff of the past, but we also have an obligation to collect and preserve the documents, images and objects that will help future residents understand our present,” said Sandra Clark, the MHC's Director.

More information about the collecting initiative is available on the MHC's website.

 

Fulton Street Farmers Market remaining open on Saturdays in April

The Fulton Street Farmers Market (FSFM) will remain open on Saturdays throughout April from 10am–1pm, it announced today, April 10, in its weekly In Season Report.

Farms and food businesses present at the FSFM will continue offering locally-grown produce such as greens and root vegetables, meats, cheeses, bread, juices, hard cider, and more.

Due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, we are taking the necessary precautions to ensure the safety and health of all,” the FSFM stated in its report. “[Six feet] distances have been marked off along the market stalls to direct people where to stand while making their purchases. All of our vendors will be located outside and spaced out to alleviate crowd buildup and allow for proper social distancing. Vendors participating in our Saturday markets are essential food businesses only.”

The FSFM is asking customers to allow vendors to assist them when making their purchases, avoid touching and handling any products, and be patient while making purchases. In order to ensure safety precautions are being taken, transactions may be longer than expected.

Relax and enjoy the fresh air!” the FSFM implored.

More information about the FSFM’s coronavirus mitigation efforts during this time is available on its website.

 

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