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The Data
As many public health experts predicted, the colder months have brought a substantial spike in coronavirus cases, positivity rates, and hospitalizations. Data released from the Michigan Economic Recovery Council (MERC) shows the COVID-19 case increase in Michigan, as well as the rest of the nation, is greater now than in the spring:

  • Positive COVID-19 cases stand at over 7,000 per day, compared to the 1,878-case peak during the spring.
  • Positivity rates stand at 12%, compared to less than 3% in early October.
  • Hospitalizations resulting from COVID-19 are doubling every two weeks and are projected to eclipse our spring capacity peak by December. 
  • Michigan COVID-19-related deaths are increasing as rapidly as the pandemic’s peak in early April. Deaths increased from 22 per week to over 1,000 per week over three weeks. 
  • The alarming rise in cases is across all parts of Michigan, compared to the initial emergence in southeast Michigan. 
  • While many Michiganders have put COVID-19 in the back of their minds, healthcare professionals have been running at full tilt since the emergence of the crisis, and their ability to handle this increased spike is beyond reasonable expectations.
  • Unlike the situation in the spring, the current COVID-19 spike has swept the entire nation, mitigating the ability for states to share resources. Every corner of the U.S. will require all the resources they have, and more. 

The Pause 
On Sunday, Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services announced a three-week pause to attempt to decrease COVID-19 cases. This “pause” re-imposed several restrictions on activities and business operations throughout the state.

The Economic Crisis
The pause order impacts businesses struggling the most or have only recently been allowed to reopen, such as restaurants, fitness facilities, and theaters. Several of these business types included have no documented cases of COVID-19 spread to-date.

 These additional restrictions will lead to even more Michigan businesses’ permanent closure, which will damage our economy in both the short and long term. Also, unemployment resources are limited, and hoping for a federal stimulus is not a plan.

The Lansing Regional Chamber’s Recommendations to Elected Leaders
The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce agrees that actions should be taken to mitigate the growing and ongoing spread of COVID-19. However, we want our elected leaders to work together to move Michigan forward, with a priority of protecting lives and livelihoods. Last month, we joined several business and chambers of commerce from across the state, asking Michigan’s government leaders to do the following:

  • Businesses need clarity, consistency, and transparency on decisions.
  • All industries should be allowed to open with proper safety protocols.
  • Going forward, we must be precise on how we control outbreaks.
  • Continue to utilize best practices – informed by data – on ways to protect our citizens.

What You Can Do
As we head into this three-week pause, we encourage you to support small businesses, shop local, eat local, and give to a local charity. Seventy cents of every dollar spent locally stays local. It will be imperative for us to challenge ourselves to support our small businesses because every day is Prime Day when you shop locally.

  • East Lansing Small Business Crawl: Nov. 16 – Nov. 21; Dec. 7 – Dec. 12. Additional information can be found at  
  • Small Business Saturday: Nov. 28
  • Giving Tuesday: Dec. 1
  • #LiftUpLocal: Experience downtown Lansing in a new way and lift up local businesses who need your support.

If we are missing an event or program supporting small businesses, please send an email to Ashley Sandborn, director of marketing and communications, LRCC, at

Additional Resources & Guidelines
For additional COVID-19 resources and guidelines, including the symptom checker and MI COVID Alert app, please visit