Editor’s note: The following letter was addressed and sent to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer on May 28.
We write as the united group of all of the Chambers of Commerce in Lapeer County. We respectfully request that the county of Lapeer be moved from Region 1 of the Michigan Economic Recovery Council Reporting Regions to Region 4.
Lapeer County has been placed in Region 1, which also includes Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston, Washtenaw, and Monroe counties, as well as the City of Detroit. As of May 28, the average number of coronavirus cases per county, plus the City of Detroit, of Region 1 (excluding Lapeer County) is 4,375 with 508 deaths.
Region 4 consists of Sanilac, Tuscola, Huron, Saginaw, Midland, Bay, Gladwin, Arenac, Iosco, Alcona, Ogemaw and Oscoda counties. As of May 28, the average number of coronavirus cases in the Region 4 counties is 151, with 15 deaths.
As of May 28, 2020, Lapeer County has 188 cases of coronavirus, with 30 deaths. There have been no deaths in Lapeer County since May 11. The numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths for Lapeer County are much more similar to the averages of the counties in the region directly to the north and northwest of Lapeer County, Region 4, than our current Region 1.
We understand that there may be a concern about the effect on the spread of the virus in Lapeer County due to Lapeer County residents who travel to counties such as Macomb and Oakland for work. Logic would indicate that there should not be any net difference created by changing Lapeer County from Region 1 to Region 4. The number of businesses that are operating in Oakland and Macomb counties would not change because their region would not have changed. As such, the number of Lapeer county residents driving to Oakland or Macomb counties for work should not be affected by changing the region for Lapeer County.
In addition, as Chambers of Commerce we are 501(c)(6) organizations and we rely heavily on community- based fundraising to provide business education programs, support and promotion for our members. Some of our organizations rely on fund raising to provide staff for our Chamber offices. Currently we are not receiving any assistance from any stimulus package. If Lapeer County were to be moved to Region 4, this may allow us to be able to open our county earlier to salvage some fundraising events, while practicing social distancing and using face masks. These fundraising events positively impact our local economies.
We recognize that the State of Michigan has an absolute interest in reopening the businesses in the state in a manner which will maximize the safety of our residents, our customers and our employees. However, based upon the above stated numbers, the Chambers of Commerce of Lapeer County feel strongly that Lapeer County should be relocated to Region 4 to allow our businesses to reopen in a safe and timely manner.
Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.
—Neda Payne, Executive Director of the Lapeer Area Chamber of Commerce
President of the Dryden Area Chamber of Commerce
President of the Almont Chamber of Commerce
—Barbara L. Yockey,
President of the Imlay City Area Chamber of Commerce
—Walter J. Bargen,
President of the Metamora Area Chamber of Commerce