LANSING, MI — Those who have multiple homes in Michigan will no longer be allowed to travel freely between those properties as part of the latest stay-at-home order.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Thursday extended the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order through April 30, which in part restricts travel for non-essential reasons throughout the state.

That extension now includes more language about traveling between multiple homes in Michigan. According to the order, which goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. tonight, travel is permitted:

“Between two residences in this state, through April 10, 2020. After that date, travel between two residences is not permitted.”

That means Michiganders have until the end of the day Friday to choose which homes they will live in. After that, they will be subject to fines and penalties if they are violating the order by traveling between the two homes. However, if you are returning from out of state or traveling to a residence out of Michigan, that is allowed. That includes ‘snowbirds’ who are currently living out of state and who are weighing their options for when to return to Michigan.

“Data shows that most Michiganders are doing their part by staying home and staying safe. That’s good, but we must keep it up,” Whitmer said in a press release announcing the extension.

The order comes three days after James Janisse, the village president of Elk Rapids, Michigan reached out to the governor, urging her to force Michiganders to make a one-time choice on which home they want to live in during the stay-at-home order. Janisse and other officials in smaller northern Michigan towns have expressed concern regarding downstate residents traveling north to their vacation or second homes.

While those cities and towns typically enjoy having more people around, right now, they’re concerned about the ability to fight the COVID-19 virus in small towns. Janisse says people arriving in the small towns are not self-quarantining and going out to grocery stores, gas stations and other businesses deemed essential and that remain open.

“House activity rivals that of Independence Day and Harbor Days,” Janisse said in a letter to Whitmer. “At any other time, this would be cause for celebration, but right now it is not.”

He’s concerned those traveling may unknowingly spread the virus in communities where health facilities are not equipped to handle a significant outbreak.

In some areas, those who decide to move to vacation homes are encouraged to self-isolate for 14 days once they have arrived home. Earlier this week, Dr. Michael Collins, medical director of the Grand Traverse County Health Department urged travelers to self-isolate and avoid trips to the grocery store or anything that would put them in contact with others.

“It doesn’t take many who don’t follow that kind of instruction to really make a big difference in the ultimate success or failure, in terms of how many cases we get and how quickly,” Collins said.

PREVENTION TIPS

In addition to washing hands regularly and not touching your face, officials recommend practicing social distancing, assuming anyone may be carrying the virus. Health officials say you should be staying at least 6 feet away from others and working from home, if possible. Carry hand sanitizer with you, and use disinfecting wipes or disinfecting spray cleaners on frequently-touched surfaces in your home (door handles, faucets, countertops) and when you go into places like stores.

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Complete coverage at mlive.com/coronavirus

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