COVID-19 Update: President Approves Extended Use of National Guard, Restaurant Association Launches Michigan Carry Out Website, and More

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
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map of Michigan coronavirus cases
Courtesy of Bridge, as of June 3

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Federal Government – President Approves Request to Extend Use of National Guard
The Michigan National Guard will continue its efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic after President Donald Trump extended federal deployment known as Title 32 authority until Aug. 21. The extension comes after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer sent a letter to the president on May 27 urging him to extend Title 32 authority.

The Michigan National Guard has played a critical role in flattening the COVID-19 curve in Michigan by distributing personal protective equipment, food, and medical supplies, providing warehousing support, disinfecting public spaces, and assisting the Department of Health and Human Services with testing.

Title 32 authority, which allows Guard members to receive federal pay and benefits, was set to expire on June 24 due to a deadline set by the Trump Administration. In addition to allowing Michigan to fully utilize the National Guard for recovery and reopening efforts, the extension of Title 32 authority means that many Guard members will qualify for federal retirement and education benefits made available under the GI Bill. Without an extension, some Guard members would not have been eligible to receive these benefits.

Restaurant Association Launches Carry Out Michigan Website
The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association announced today the launch of carryoutmichigan.com, a website that serves as the state’s single source for the most accurate, up-to-date information on local restaurants.

“While there is tremendous excitement about restaurants being able to reopen on June 8 with limited capacity, we understand that take out will still play a role in operations and will still be widely used by consumers,” says Justin Winslow, president and CEO of MRLA. “Carry Out Michigan is the newest resource we can provide, offering a centralized online hub for the general public to support their favorite restaurant by ordering a meal to go.”

Consumers can visit the website and filter restaurants in their area — throughout the state of Michigan — by entering an address or selecting a specific cuisine. A list of restaurants based on the user’s location proximity is generated. Each restaurant listing indicates the type of cuisine offered; price range; delivery, pick-up, or curbside options; as well as menu, directions and hours of operation.

Owners can sign up their restaurants at no cost by visiting the website and creating an account on the site. Restaurants have the options to provide details such as hours of operation, food offerings, location, and other information for consumers to access the business. Once signed up, MRLA will approve the listing and the restaurant will appear on the website.

To sign up to be included on the site and to review the participating restaurants, visit here.

Detroit COVID-19 Testing
As part of an ongoing program to make COVID-19 testing more accessible to residents across the city of Detroit, Wayne State University, ACCESS, the Wayne State University Physician Group, and Ford Motor Co. will set up a mobile testing site outside the Downtown Boxing Gym on Detroit’s east side (6445 E. Vernor Highway). Testing will take place Saturday, June 6 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Free COVID-19 swab tests and antibody tests will be provided to Downtown Boxing Gym families and neighborhood residents, ages 18 and older. In addition, participants can receive free blood pressure screenings and HIV testing for those ages 13 and older.

“The testing event at DBG demonstrates the power of partnerships in meeting community needs. Five organizations with community-focused missions have come together to protect and serve DBG members and nearby residents with COVID-19 testing and other much-needed services,” says Dr. Phillip D. Levy, MD, professor and associate chair for research at Wayne State University.

Since March, DBG has served the larger community by delivering thousands of gallons of hand sanitizer and tens of thousands of masks to nonprofits across southeast Michigan using its fleet of vans. A safe re-open plan to bring students back into the gym is in the works.

“Throughout this pandemic, our team has been working to serve the most urgent needs of our students, families and our community in every way we can,” says Khali Sweeney, founder and CEO of DBG. “Arranging for free COVID-19 testing outside of our gym is one more way we can help prevent the spread of this virus and help those in the immediate area who might not have access to transportation or the resources to get tested elsewhere.”

Testing is free and does not require a prescription from a physician. Results are returned with in 24 to 36 hours. Participants can complete a pre-intake form by texting the word CARE to 313-251-6538. For those who do not have a cell phone, a test team member will help with the form at the site.

Grand Circus and NCWIT Offer Bootcamp Scholarships for Women
Detroit-based Grand Circus, in partnership with the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT), is offering a scholarship designed to advance gender equity and diversity in tech.

Individuals in Michigan who self-identify as women, genderqueer, or non-binary and are interested in pursuing a computing or technical career may be eligible for a full scholarship to any Grand Circus bootcamp. This scholarship is underwritten by NCWIT and covers 100 percent of the cost of tuition.

“At Grand Circus, we’re committed to building a path for anyone who is interested in a tech career,” says Amanda Metes, director of marketing at Grand Circus, “which means actively supporting women and people of color to bridge the diversity gaps that are all too prevalent in the sector. We’re thankful for partners like NCWIT that recognize the value of directly investing in access to education and training for communities that have historically been left out of these spaces.”

The NCWIT Michigan Digital Skills Pilot Program is designed to support individuals re-entering the workforce with interest in a computing/technology career; considering changing careers with a new career in computing/technology; already in a technical computing role and wish to advance their career with additional digital skills.

While Grand Circus programs are normally held in person, the tech training academy has been remote since mid-March and will continue to hold virtual bootcamps until there is zero risk to gather. Remote offerings leverage its team of local instructors, teaching assistants, program managers, community partners and Grand Circus’s network of more than 350 regional employers. In further response to the COVID-19 crisis, Grand Circus has offered a Community Relief scholarship to anyone whose livelihood, job or income has been impacted by the pandemic, and have given away nearly $100,000 in scholarship funds since the shutdowns.

Application for the July bootcamps closes Friday, June 19 for after-hours programs and July 3 for full-time programs. To apply for the Grand Circus NCWIT Scholarship, and for more information on the program, visit here.

New Virus Forecasts Show Fragile Balance but Early Promise for Quiet Summer
New four-week COVID-19 projections released by PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia show while many U.S. counties are experiencing increased cases of the virus as they reopen, large second waves of widespread community transmission are not currently forecasted in most areas.

The data from the COVID-Lab model add more evidence that increasing temperatures and humidity levels are reducing the risk of the virus spreading over the summer in less-populated counties that remain vigilant with personal protection in crowded indoor locations and maintain limited gathering sizes.

The model, which uses cell phone data to observe travel to non-essential businesses over time, continues to show reductions in social distancing across the country. Previous projections for some areas that had increased transmission over the last two weeks — represented by counties in Alabama, Florida, and Nevada — stabilized this week. Given that the model has consistently shown social distancing is the most impactful factor in the spread of COVID-19, the researchers attribute the forecasted ability of these communities to prevent additional community spread to the beneficial effects of weather and suspected personal vigilance in masking and hygiene in many areas.

The model continues, however, to underscore the risk in communities that have quickly relaxed social distancing, including Houston, Dallas, and Phoenix, and some areas in Indiana, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Furthermore, data show Chicago and Minneapolis are near their peaks in transmission, and the researchers identified new areas of concern in the Pacific Northwest such as the Portland, Ore., metropolitan area and Yakima, Wash. Finally, a new addition to this week’s analysis includes a map of counties that saw dramatic increases in close proximity encounters over Memorial Day weekend, including vacation destinations like the Atlantic shore, the Poconos, Lake Michigan, and southern California. The researchers say they will closely watch transmission risk for these communities and their feeder cities over the next two weeks.

“Overall, despite some persistent and emerging hotspots, there continue to be encouraging signs from our forecasts this week — it appears that weather is continuing to mitigate the risk for widespread community transmission in most areas as they reopen,” says Dr. David Rubin, director of PolicyLab at CHOP and a professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. “However, we are mindful that the stabilization we are observing is quite fragile, as we are just beginning to see the effects of Memorial Day travel in many areas and aren’t yet able to see the impacts of recent crowded protests against racial and social injustices. It will be critical to monitor the next two weeks of the epidemic to ensure that resurgence risk is really abating in most areas of the country.”

For more information about the forecast, visit here.

Emagine Canton Opening for Curbside Carry Out
Emagine Entertainment says Emagine Canton (39535 Ford Rd.) will open for carry out, curbside concessions and gift card sales on Saturday, June 6 from noon to 7 p.m. so that while watching movies at home customers can partake in concessions like popcorn, nachos, candy, cotton candy, cookie dough and more. Phone lines (734-721-3456) to place orders will open at 11 a.m.

Emagine Canton employees will wear masks and gloves while preparing, packaging, and delivering concessions to vehicles upon pickup to maintain the highest standards of cleanliness and safety for guests and employees.

Guests also can support Emagine Theatres by purchasing a $25 gift card to be used at a later date and receive a free family sized popcorn for carryout.

For more information visit here.

Community Foundation and CultureSource Announce $500,000 in Relief Grants
The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, in partnership with CultureSource, announces Relief and Resiliency grants from the COVID-19 Arts and Creative Community Assistance Fund. This fund exists as a resource for the region’s cultural sector to continue contributing to the public good, both in the short and long terms.

The COVID-19 Arts and Creative Community Assistance Fund is supported by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, DeRoy Testamentary Foundation, Ford Foundation, Kresge Foundation, Leinweber Foundation, Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, Peck Foundation, and William Davidson Foundation.

The grant program is presenting 50 grants of $10,000 to nonprofit arts and culture organizations to help them relieve financial pressures generated by the COVID-19 pandemic and plan for and pivot to new mission-related program opportunities. A list of awardees from six of the seven counties in the region, representing every arts and cultural discipline of every size, can be found here.

“We must support our region’s arts and culture organizations,” says Mariam Noland, president of the Community Foundation. “The sector is a vital resource that supports thousands of jobs, supports business, and grows our economy.”

Applications were limited to 501c3 nonprofit organizations located in at least one of the seven counties of southeast Michigan and with at least a two-year track record of artistic or cultural programming. Applicants did not have to be CultureSource members. Funded organizations include new creative enterprises, community arts hubs, multi-disciplinary arts presenters, youth development nonprofits, and artistic services providers for people with disabilities.

“With applications totaling over $2 million in requests from more than 200 organizations, we were not able to completely meet this great need,” says Omari Rush, executive director of CutltureSource. “We hope that it sparks progress that broadly spreads throughout our creative ecosystem while demonstrating need in the area.”

Goodwill Industries Announces Plans to Reopen Donation Centers and Stores
Goodwill Industries donation centers and stores in Michigan has announced safety plans and precautions as the Battle Creek-based nonprofit plans for reopening today.

Ten independent, community-based Goodwill organizations operate in 82 Michigan counties. They have joined together to ensure the health and safety of shoppers, donors, and employees at Goodwill locations statewide.

The organization says every Goodwill store and donation center in Michigan is taking stringent precautions to protect against exposure to COVID-19. The following measures, in line with CDC guidelines, are in place at all Michigan Goodwills:

  • Employees complete daily health check-ins when reporting to work.
  • Employees wear PPE.
  • The number of customers allowed in stores at any given time are limited based on state guidelines.
  • Hand sanitizer is available.
  • Protective shields are in place.
  • Signage and floor markings are in place to encourage social distancing.
  • Curbside drop-off.
  • All donations are quarantined.

“In response to Gov. Whitmer’s lifting of her Shelter-in-place order the 10 independent Goodwill organizations located in the state of Michigan are grateful for the support of our residents for their donations and purchases at our locations throughout the entire state,” says Kenneth C. Bauer, chairman of Michigan Goodwills. “Each Goodwill organization wants you to know your safety, and the safety of our employees, is first and foremost on our minds.  Each organization has agreed to employ common-sense standards derived from the CDC guidelines to ensure best practices are used as we begin to reopen our operations in each of Michigan’s 82 counties.”

For more information on Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit, visit here.

Webinars
The Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield is hosting a free webinar titled “How Do I Prepare My Company for Investors?” on Wednesday, June 17 from 10-11 a.m. via Zoom.

The webinar will cover grants, loans, angel investors, venture capitals, private equity, corporate structure, calculating valuation and structuring a return on investment for investors.

To register, visit here.

The Centrepolis Accelerator also is hosting a free webinar on Wednesday, June 24 titled “Selling Your Products On-line: Best Practices Revealed by Experts” between 10-11 a.m.

Panelists will include Jeff Wenzell of the Woodshed Agency who will discuss digital marketing techniques and crowdfunding, and Marla Bogaerts of Full Circle Wins who will talk about selling products on Amazon.

Visit here to register.

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