Home Around Town COVID-19 crisis: community responds
COVID-19 crisis: community responds

COVID-19 crisis: community responds


By Scott Sullivan


No story about things not happening due to coronavirus is complete without mention of how communities are responding.

Websites sharing ways to protect ourselves abound. Stay tuned for updates as response keeps evolving.

It is also fair to say that, with social distancing sane and standard, people of all types who might be arguing in “normal” times aren’t. A greater threat unites us.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Monday signed a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order directing all Michigan businesses and operations to temporarily suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life, following other large states’ lead.

The order also directs Michiganders to stay in their homes unless they’re a part of that critical infrastructure workforce, engaged in an outdoor activity or performing tasks necessary to the health and safety of themselves or their family, such as going to the hospital or grocery store.

For at least three weeks starting March 24, individuals may only leave their homes under limited circumstances, and they must adhere to social distancing measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when they do so, including remaining at least six feet from people from outside their households to the extent feasible under the circumstances.

Workers needed to sustain or protect life include those in healthcare and public health, law enforcement and public safety, grocery store workers and more. For a full list, visit the michigan.gov website.



Last week we described an ad hoc “Feeding the Gap” effort involving local businesses, organizations, churches, governments, schools individuals and more volunteering and working to furnish meals for now out-of-school children who would normally receive free or reduced-price lunches.

Sponsors seeking to expand Children First Lakeshore efforts that were serving 275 Saugatuck and Fennville schools students aiming to double the volume of food CFL now delivers to as many as 1,200 children for six to eight weeks.

Feeding the Gap’s community fundraising goal of $120,000 to achieve this, according to CFL leader George Stoutin, received generous and major boosts of $20,000 from the Julie and Kirk Cousins Foundation, and $15,000 from the Daniel J. Reid Foundation via David Cofield, the latter’s chair.

Want to help, apply for assistance or learn more? Visit feedingthegap.com.

Holland Hospital has activated a free COVID-19 screening hotline. People experiencing a fever, cough, shortness of breath or concerned they may have been exposed to coronavirus may call (616) 394-2080 daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. A nurse will evaluate symptoms, ask questions and determine if further testing or hospitalization is needed.

The Saugatuck Woman’s Club board of directors voted electronically and unanimously to waive rent for tenant Fran Merveau, who runs her store The Owl House from club-owned property.

“Fran has been an excellent renter,” said board member Pat Huyge. “The SWC and Fran have had a long and prosperous relationship.

“The idea of renting the building originally came from the late Jane Van Dis at a time when the SWC was having financial problems,” Huyge continued. “Fran joins a long list of renters who have helped the SWC remain viable.”

Local government units, per state directive, are postponing public meetings as much as possible and otherwise seeking ways to record and televise them online. Check their websites.

Local eateries, unable by state law to offer sit-down dining, are offering take-out orders. Per the most-recent lists provided by the Saugatuck-Douglas Area Business Association and Convention & Visitors Bureau, these include:

Among area retail businesses staying open are:

  • Chemical Bank (269) 857-2116, Drive-throuugh & ATM only.
  • Lake Vista Super Valu (269) 857-2443, 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. Sunday -Thursday, til. 10 p.m. Friday – Saturday. Full-service grocery store.
  • Saugatuck Drug Store (269) 857-2300, Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Full-service pharmacy.