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Are home improvement shoppers bending Michigan coronavirus rules?

Flint-Saginaw-Bay City WJRT logo Flint-Saginaw-Bay City WJRT 4/3/2020 Charlie Tinker
a truck with a sign in front of a building: Home improvement shoppers bending Michigan coronavirus rules? © Provided by Flint-Saginaw-Bay City WJRT Home improvement shoppers bending Michigan coronavirus rules?

MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) (04/02/2020) - Questions abound over the definition of critical infrastructure.

Those are the businesses and organizations allowed to remain open under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order.

But some wonder whether certain shoppers might be taking advantage of and bending the rules. That includes for home improvement projects.

“It is a big deal and should not be taken lightly," said Janice Ashford works on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis. “I feel a lot of people aren’t doing as we’re supposed to be doing.”

She is a health care provider who regularly works with medical equipment, which requires an occasional trip to a home improvement store.

Ashford has been concerned about behavior she believes goes against everything for which she and her colleagues are so desperately fighting.

“They feel, since they’re bored, it’s OK just to take off and go to say Home Depot or Menards to get building supplies, paint, whatever,” Ashford said. “Those stores are only open for emergency purposes.”

Whitmer’s order imposes limits on travel and restricts errands to the essentials in an effort to curb the further spread of COVID-19.

“I have to go there once in a while to get supplies to do my job,” Ashford said. “I see a lot of other people just doing whatever. That’s not helping the spread of this virus.”

Today in Bay County – an ABC 12 crew still found dozens of cars in the parking lot. Ashford believes venturing out to tackle a home improvement project isn’t just bending the rules, but putting lives -- including hers -- in danger.

“If the only thing we have to do to protect ourselves is to stay away… that seems like the simplest thing in life anybody could ever do,” she said.

Ashford's message has one simple takeaway:

“Just stay home, that’s my biggest tip. Get us back on track, get everybody back working and get the economy back on track,” she said.

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