Mackinac Island Seasonal Workers Latest Target of False Social Media Coronavirus Rumor
Each year, people from across the world come to the Mackinac Island area to work for the summer.
With the coronavirus pandemic, many residents have reached out to Northern Michigan’s News Leader concerned there were workers here, and they could spread the virus.
“Mackinaw City, St. Ignace, and Mackinac Island rely heavily on seasonal employees,” said St. Ignace Mayor Connie Litzner.
From hotels, to restaurants and the famous fudge shops, seasonal workers come from across the globe to work in the Mackinac area every summer.
But a Facebook post put residents of the area in a panic.
The post claims there were “bus loads” of seasonal workers in St. Ignace and Mackinaw City during the coronavirus pandemic.
That is not true.
“We currently are not aware of any large groups of seasonal workers at this time,” Mayor Litzner said.
While there may be a few seasonal workers in the area now, most businesses have delayed their opening and pushed back the arrival of their seasonal employees.
The post also claims that Mackinac Island’s mayor has “shutdown” the island non-residents, and calls on Mayor Litzner to do the same.
She says that is also not true.
Mayor Litzner says no mayor has the power to do that, and that Mackinac Island’s mayor has just requested non-residents refrain from traveling to the island while the stay at home order is in place.
Mayor Litzner says she has been working to make sure everyone’s concerns are met.
“We have been trying to reach out to local motel owners, restaurant owners, anybody that is going to have (seasonal) workers to make sure we ensure the safety of citizens,” Mayor Litzner said.
The LMAS District Health Department says they, along with regional business and community leaders, have already been working to address this.
While things aren’t set in stone yet….
“We are still in planning stages with all of those groups and ultimately there’s going to be further guidance coming from the state of Michigan as well, “ said Kerry Ott, LMAS District Health Department Public Information Officer.
In a statement to 9&10 News, the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau says “All Mackinac Island businesses are determining 2020 season scheduling at their discretion with the health and safety of the island’s residents, staff and guests prioritized above all other considerations. At this time, the majority of island businesses are planning to welcome our valued guests to the summer capital of the world as soon as it is deemed safe to do so by federal, state and local officials. We will continue to monitor for future travel directives and guidelines, and serve as a resource to provide updates on behalf of Mackinac Island Tourism members as they become available.”
And for those concerned, the mayor says…
“I understand that you’re concerned, I’m very concerned. We’ve never dealt with anything like this before. I hope people take it day by day, but I hope they trust that we’re all working together, and we’re all concerned about the same thing, everyone’s safety,” Mayor Litzner said.
In these times of uncertainty, it is important we look to information sources we can trust, and not just anyone making claims on social media.