LaFave: Police shut down potential U.P. PPE supplier over lack of clarity in governor’s ‘stay-home’ order

Categories: LaFave News,News

State Rep. Beau LaFave, of Iron Mountain, today released the following statement calling out Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s ‘stay-home’ order for lacking much-needed clarity after Michigan State Police shut down a small, family-owned business in Escanaba. Bark River Knives was willing to stay open to produce face masks, ventilators and face shields and donate them to the state’s hospitals to better protect Michigan’s health care professionals as they combat COVID-19:

“This is what happens as a result of hasty, sloppy drafting when issuing a ‘stay-home’ order. With broad categories of businesses classified as ‘essential’ and ‘non-essential’ and a lack of clarification, many businesses across Michigan are confused as to whether or not they are allowed to remain open.

“At no fault of their own, it seems as though Michigan State Police is confused with the broad scope of the governor’s executive order as well, shutting down a small, family-owned business in Escanaba. Bark River Knives was keeping its doors open to start up the production of high-demand, vital medical equipment to donate to Michigan hospitals experiencing severe supply shortages, while also continuing the production of knives to stay afloat during the public health emergency.

“State law enforcement shut the operation down, citing the governor’s order that deems Bark River Knives non-essential. This is despite both New York and Wisconsin declaring knives essential for manufacturing, and Bark River Knives’ efforts to assist those on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak in Michigan.

“The hypocrisy happening across the state as it pertains to which businesses are allowed to remain open is absurd. Liquor stores remain open for grocery items but continue to sell lottery tickets, and recreational marijuana shops – identified as essential by the governor – are allowed to utilize curbside pickup. Yet Bark River Knives cannot remain open to produce and donate face masks, ventilators and face shields because they wish to also continue assembling knives.

“The governor’s lack of clarity and thoroughness in her executive orders is making a bad situation even worse as it’s leading to special treatment for some businesses and leading to the unnecessary closure of others.

“I understand state police are doing the best they can to enforce the stay-home order, but its ambiguous nature is causing a major enforcement headache. This is one of the main reasons Republicans in the Legislature have been requesting revisions for a slew of orders. Despite the confusion, I have attempted to seek clarification from the governor’s administration for several days now with no official answer or direction.

“In the spirit of transparency and accountability, I call on the governor to provide more clarity on her stay-home order so all the hypocrisy, confusion and nonsense surrounding businesses are put to rest.”