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Businesses, workers adjusting to 'essential' designations

Posted: 8:26 PM, Mar 24, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-24 22:41:24-04
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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Businesses across the state are adjusting to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's stay-at-home order that only allows them to stay open if they are considered "essential."

The term "essential" has raised a lot of questions on what kinds of businesses should remain open and who should be sending employees home.

In Grand Rapids, Christian Brothers Automotive is still open and repairing vehicles, but some are questioning whether these types of businesses are breaking the rules. According to the executive order, car repairs qualify as essential because the fixes protect human life.

The Grand Rapids location is still taking precautions to guard against COVID-19 like cutting back hours and running without about half the staff.

“I mean everybody’s pitching in, we’re working together to get things done the best that we can with what we have," Christian Brothers Automotive owner Kurt Hein said.

The company is sanitizing the lobby and even offering to pick up and deliver cars to customers who don't want to go out. If employees are concerned for their health, they can stay home.

If anyone tests positive for coronavirus, the shop will close until the building can be sanitized and employees get healthy.

While repairs are considered an essential service, the sale of vehicles is not.

Tuesday morning, CarMax released a statement about the closure of 75 stores across the country, but none in Michigan were included in the order. FOX 17 went to the 28th Street location in Kentwood where it was open, but no one inside was allowed to speak on-camera.

Shortly after being contacted by FOX 17, the company released another statement saying it will shut down until April 14 outside of making repairs to vehicles.

People who have questions about their employer can call the State of Michigan at 517-335-7858.