The Rapidian

COVID-19 in Grand Rapids: Wednesday, April 1 updates

Gov. Whitmer declares state of disaster in Michigan, The Rapid reduces passenger capacity, and more statements from local organizations issued April 1, 2020.
The Rapid reduced capacity on all DASH buses and buses serving the Silver Line and other fixed routes on April 1, 2020.

The Rapid reduced capacity on all DASH buses and buses serving the Silver Line and other fixed routes on April 1, 2020. /David Wilson

As of this first day into April, 119 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Kent County, with two confirmed deaths. Statewide, 9,334 cases have been confirmed, with 337 confirmed deaths.

With the numbers expected to rapidly rise, organizations and governmental agencies locally and statewide are responding with further measures to combat the virus.

Shared in this Wednesday, April 1, update are statements relevant to local life from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, The Rapid, AHC Hospitality, and the City of Grand Rapids.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Gov. Whitmer signed an executive order (EO 20-33) today, April 1, expanding the state of emergency declaration and declaring a state of disaster due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The order recognizes the increased scope of economic, educational, and civic dislocation caused by COVID-19, and equips the administration to further address the devastation caused by the virus.

“Since Michigan announced our first confirmed cases of COVID-19 three weeks ago, we have taken some of the most aggressive measures in the country to mitigate the spread of the virus and protect Michigan families,” said Whitmer. “Today’s action will allow my administration to respond more effectively to every facet of this crisis. During this time, it’s crucial that Michiganders continue to stay home and keep their distance from others. We will get through this together.”

In addition to issuing the newest executive order, Whitmer sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield requesting a resolution extending this declared state of emergency and disaster under the new order (EO 20-33) by 70 days from the date of the resolution.

Whitmer’s original state of emergency declaration (EO 20-4) in response to the outbreak was issued on Tuesday, March 10.

More details about the new order are available on the Executive Order page of the state’s website.

The Rapid

The Rapid transit service announced today, April 1, that it is limiting capacity to 10 passengers on all DASH buses and 15 passengers on buses serving the Silver Line and other fixed routes. The changes are effective immediately.

If a bus is at capacity, it will only stop at requested stops for passengers to de-board and may pass by stops that are not requested by passengers onboard. In those cases, an extra bus will be dispatched to pick up passengers at missed stops as quickly as possible.

Additionally, if the number of people waiting to board at a particular stop will exceed these ridership limits, some passengers may be asked to wait at the stop for an extra bus to arrive. In an effort to help passengers maintain their social distancing habits, these limits will be strictly adhered to.

“Safety is our number one priority at The Rapid,” said Lisa Young, The Rapid’s Communications Manager. “As we work to do our part to get essential employees to work and to pick up needed medications or shop for groceries, we are mindful of the health of our Operators, passengers, and public.”

More details about the service changes is available on The Rapid’s website.

AHC Hospitality

AHC Hospitality, owner of several downtown Grand Rapids hotels, announced that the JW Marriott is temporarily suspending operations, effective today, April 1.

The Courtyard by Marriott and the AC Hotel, also owned by AHC Hospitality, both temporarily suspended operations on Wednesday, March 25.

JW Marriott Grand Rapids is temporarily suspending operations,” the JW Marriott shared on their Facebook page. “We look forward to serving our guests and community again as soon as possible.”

In light of the hotels shutting their doors in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, their services will be consolidated into the Amway Grand Plaza, which remains open. The Amway Grand Plaza, another AHC Hospitality property, has 664 rooms, according to its website.

Questions about the JW Marriott’s closure can be directed to their phone line at 616-242-1500.

City of Grand Rapids

The City of Grand Rapids will begin monthly testing of its outdoor sirens Friday, May 1 – one month later normal – it announced today, April 1.

The postponed date is due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the city government’s desire to mitigate community anxiety. The sirens warn of tornadoes and other severe weather.

Grand Rapids and Kent County traditionally begin testing sirens on the first Friday in April. Testing now will begin in May and continue at noon on the first Friday of the month through October.

The warning sirens alert residents and visitors of an imminent hazard and prompt them to find shelter and seek further information,” said Allison Farole, the City’s Emergency Manager. “If you hear the City’s outdoor sirens before May 1, that means it’s a real tornado warning.”

More details about the adjusted siren schedule is available on the City of Grand Rapids’ website.

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