Officials hear questions on enforcement of mandate


April 2, 2020


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When Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer mandated that residents “stay at home” to help slow the spread of COVID-19, many residents wondered how this was to be enforced, and essential business owners scrambled to get there employees papers to travel back and fourth to work.

According to Gogebic County Undersheriff Ross Solberg, there have been “no more than half a dozen,” complaints received by his office, and they are usually regarding businesses and not individuals and many of the complaints were determined to be unfounded.

“Basically, what we have been doing if we receive a complaint from the health department or a concerned citizen we look into it and follow up with advise on how to follow the guidelines and we’ve not had to go back,” Solberg said.

According to Michigan State Police Sgt. James Revoyr, troopers are only stopping people for serious offenses. Troopers are not going to just pull people over for being on the road.

“You don’t need papers to prove where you are going. I know a lot of employers were making them for their employees, but they are not necessary,” Revoyr said. “You can go outside. In fact, I’m watching somebody jog by the post right now.”

According to Ironwood Public Safety Director Andrew DiGiorgio, while ignoring the governor’s stay at home order is a misdemeanor, punishable by a $500 fine and or 90 days in jail, “at this time we are just working on educating the public, we are not looking to throw a whole bunch of people in jail.”

According to DiGiorgio, the majority of the businesses in our area are deemed essential at this time.

“It’s hard to interpret the mandate at times on what is essential,” Solberg said. “Everybody determines everything differently. People think there business is essential and it might not be.”

DiGiorgio said that Ironwood Public Safety is receiving a handful of complaints each day usually about businesses, and often that they are not following the guidelines set forth by the health department.

“We remind them to maintain social distancing. No more than five people in their business at a time and to keep them 6 feet apart. We are just really encourage those businesses to follow those guidelines,” DiGiorgio said.

According to Revoyr, most of the things people are coming to the MSP Wakefield Post for can be done over the phone. The post is locked, but officers are still there. People with business to do inside the post, need call first to get in.

Solberg said that what they are primarily receiving are questions from citizens regarding the mandate.

According to DiGiorgio, IPS has been in close contact with state government offices and have had webinars with the Michigan municipal leadership, and news releases from the attorney general as to the mandate, and what is essential and what is not. They are working to educate people and businesses.

“We do understand that people are going a little stir crazy, but it is important for them to stay home right now to help slow the spread,” DiGiorgio said.

More information on the mandate is available at


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