DETROIT – On Friday, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency provided details on travel restrictions being placed on all land ports of entry and ferries between the U.S. and Canada in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, rules which went into effect at midnight the same day. Besides the Detroit port of entry, the new restrictions also impact Port Huron and Sault Ste. Marie.
According to a statement, both the CBP and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will suspend normal operations at U.S.-Canada land ports of entry and only process travelers engaged in essential travel. The trade of legitimate goods will not be interrupted. Essential travel may include:
- U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the U.S.
- Those traveling for medical purposes
- Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions
- Individuals traveling to work in the U.S. (including those working in the farming or agriculture industries who must travel between the U.S. and Canada for work)
- Those traveling for emergency response and public health purposes
- Individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade (such as truck drivers supporting the movement of cargo between the U.S. and Canada)
- Individuals engaged in official government travel or diplomatic travel, members of the U.S. Armed Forces, their spouses or children returning to the U.S.
- Individuals engaged in military-related travel or operations.
Individuals traveling for tourism purposes like sightseeing, recreation, gambling or attending cultural events are not considered essential travelers. Detailed information on restrictions to entry into the U.S. is available from the CBP here.
Whitmer dispels rumors, state announces expanded testing capabilities
I want to be very clear, there has been a lot of information and rumors floating around. I am asking for funding for our national Guardsmen and Guardswomen to help distribute food and supplies, humanitarian mission; I am not calling for martial law. — Governor Whitmer
The latest data from the state, which is now broken into results from state and private labs and hospitals, reveals 549 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Michigan, with four deaths reported of people over the age of 50 with underlying medical conditions. On Friday, Governor Whitmer clarified a number of points about certain COVID-19 related executive orders and dispelled rumors about military take-over of the state.
“This week I sent a letter to President Trump requesting federal funding for the full use of the Michigan National Guard,” Whitmer said in a live broadcast from the state’s Emergency Operations Center. “The Guard would, under my command, be used to aid distribution of food and supplies for families and businesses that have been impacted by the spread of COVID-19.
“I want to be very clear, there has been a lot of information and rumors floating around. I am asking for funding for our national Guardsmen and Guardswomen to help distribute food and supplies, humanitarian mission; I am not calling for martial law.”
She also spoke of partnerships with various state manufactures, who have transformed their operations to meet growing demand of such crucial items as hospital gowns, face masks and hand sanitizers.
At the same tele-briefing, Michigan’s chief medical executive and chief deputy for health, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, talked of the state’s new testing capabilities, which has increased the frequency of results and may contribute to the appearance of a spike in new cases. With all state and private labs combined, there are now a 1,000 tests being performed every day.
“We continue to expand our lab testing capacity,” Khaldun said. “Our state lab has tripled its ability this past week to test and we can now do up to three hundred samples in one day.”
On Friday, Whitmer also addressed some confusion caused by a Department of Education memo that may have signaled that online instructions during school closures may not count towards school activity and state educational requirements.
“The memo does not mean that school work done during the mandatory school closure won’t ‘count’ toward grades, credits, or graduation,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Each district should determine what services and supports they are able to provide during this unprecedented crisis.
“Many are focusing on meeting basic needs and are working around the clock to provide breakfast and lunch for hungry students. Other districts have the ability to provide more learning support as a result of one-to-one technology initiatives. I am in awe of the work that school employees are doing to support their kids and I applaud their efforts.”
Whitmer said she will be working in the coming days to ensure seniors graduate and that no child is held back as a result of the state’s ability to provide face-to-face instruction during the COVID-19 school closure.