COVID-19: Stay Home Executive Order Frequently Asked Questions

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Our Law Department has compiled these frequently asked questions to provide clarification on Governor Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order. You can also Read the Executive Order.

Check out a message from Chief Payne and City Attorney Anita Hitchcock here.

Remember, voluntary compliance with the Governor’s order by staying home and practicing social distancing are the best ways to protect you and those you care about.  

What do I do if I want to report a company that continues to operate during this time in violation of the Governor’s executive order?

  • We encourage you to review the executive order and the state’s FAQs here. Some businesses may continue to engage in some minimum operations necessary to protect their inventory or to allow their other staff to work remotely. Additionally, some businesses may continue to operate in a limited capacity to supply goods or services to critical infrastructure. This allows critical infrastructure workers such as health care workers and first responders to continue to do their jobs safely.
  • If you still think a business is in violation of the Governor’s order, you can call 311.
  • Please do not call 911. We need to keep 911 open for emergencies.

What will the City do with a complaint against a business?

  • City staff will review the complaints and reach out to businesses to verify whether they are operating in compliance with the order. This process allows City staff to educate businesses on the executive order and obtain voluntary compliance with owners who may have been unsure or confused its requirements.
  • Based on guidance from the Michigan Attorney General’s office, if staff encounter clear violations of the executive order, the Grand Rapids Police Department may take enforcement action. A willful violation of the executive order can result in a misdemeanor charge that comes with up to a $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail. 

What do I do if I want to report that individuals are violating the order or not practicing social distancing?

  • Please use your discretion in calling in complaints. Limit calls to egregious activity that poses a substantial health risk to a large number of people.
  • You can call the Police Department’s nonemergency line: 616.456.3400.
  • Do not call 911. We need to keep 911 open for emergencies.

Will police stop vehicles or set up check points to make sure travelers are only engaged in “essential travel”?

  • No! Under this order, police don’t have legal authority to stop vehicles just to investigate whether the occupants are complying with the executive order.

Will police stop or talk to me on the sidewalk?

  • Police officers walking around on patrol may ask you how you are doing and if you need anything – from a socially safe distance. Police can talk to you, just like any person. That is a contact. If you are unsure if an interaction is a contact, you can ask: “Am I being detained? Am I free to leave?” If the situation is just a contact, you are free to leave and can walk away.
  • If officers have reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is occurring, they can detain or stop you for a brief period to investigate the situation to confirm or dispel the suspicion of criminal activity. It is not our Police Department’s priority to investigate whether you are on “essential business.” Rather, we are relying on community members voluntarily taking the appropriate steps to address this public health emergency.

Do I have to carry documentation that I am an essential worker to provide to police?

  • No. The executive order does not require that you carry proof that you are an essential worker. Police officers are not going to stop you to ask for documentation that you are an essential worker.

What if I have been wrongly stopped by a police officer?

  • If you have an issue with how a Grand Rapids Police employee has handled a specific situation, you can report the issue by filing a complaint with the department’s Internal Affairs Unit. Online complaints can be filed here. Or, you can call 616.456.3480.

What do I do if I want to report price gouging or deceptive business practices, such as someone selling a “test” for COVID-19?

  • When it comes to price gouging, COVID-19 scams and other consumer concerns, please call the Attorney General’s consumer protection hotline at 877.765.8388 or use the AG complaint form, here.

How do I know if I am an essential worker?

  • Ask your employer.
  • You also can find helpful information on the Attorney General’s website here.

How do I know if my business is a critical infrastructure business?

  • Review the executive order and FAQs for guidance. You can also find helpful information on the Attorney General’s website here. Still have questions? Email the Attorney General’s office at

What if I am a vendor for the City of Grand Rapids?

  • If you are a supplier, distribution center or service provider and your continued operation is necessary to enable, support or facilitate the continuation of work for our critical infrastructure workers, the relevant City department will contact you. If you have questions, you can reach out to your established contacts with the department you do business with for guidance.