Letters: On 'essential' work and the boating ban

The Detroit News

What is 'essential'?

I read Ingrid Jacques' column, ("Whitmer disses Michigan biz community," April 12), and I agree 100% with her stance regarding the governor's restrictions. I don't know of anyone who is suffering financially because of all the closures of businesses, but my heart aches for those who have to endure this. I do strongly believe that they should remain open with, of course, safeguards in place, like those placed on grocery stores. Is the governor even aware that this is the most financially vital time for businesses such as greenhouses? 

I am very puzzled as to why liquor stores are considered "essential." I occasionally shop in one, and notice that most of the customers are buying lottery tickets. Are lottery tickets essential? Does the state allow this because Michigan makes lots of money off of them?

Valerie Binder, Eastpointe

Boating is social distancing

Re: "Five tickets, 323 warnings given to boaters violating stay-home order," April 13: Under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-42, the use of a motorboat has been added to the list of prohibited activities, eligible for a fine and criminal charges. This issue is explicitly clarified in the Q&A in regard to her order. 

"Physical outdoor activity like kayaking, canoeing and sailing is permitted under the order, but using a motorboat, a jet ski, or other similar watercraft is not."

While the need for drastic measures in these difficult times is understandable, and the governor is tasked with making very tough decisions with limited information, this component of her strategy is too extreme and does nothing to accomplish the goal of fighting the pandemic.

What makes boats powered by sails safer than those driven by motors? If sitting in a canoe or kayak in the middle of a body of water represents proper social distancing, what makes a motorboat any different? If standing on the shore with a fishing pole is allowable, why is standing on a motorboat illegal? If an individual turns off their motor and uses paddles or a makeshift sail, would that be allowed? These inconsistencies demonstrate the unnecessary and arbitrary nature of this order.

Boating and fishing mean a lot to many people. In what is the most stressful time many of us have experienced, being able to relax, get some fresh air and enjoy Michigan's fisheries and bodies of water is a great way to stay healthy in a manner that involves no direct contact with other individuals. 

If boating can be banned, it is scary to think of what could be banned next, one reader writes.

If boating can be banned, it is scary to think of what could be banned next. 

Law enforcement and government should focus their limited resources preventing behavior that actually contributes to the spread of the disease. Patrolling for people on boats is a waste of time and hurts overall enforcement efforts.

Whitmer should reevaluate this provision of her strategy and explain why a measure that seems so drastic, unnecessary and arbitrary is an essential component to fighting the spread of the virus. 

Matthew Muir, sportsman and fisherman, Birmingham