The Centers for Disease Control recommends washing hands often with soap for at least 20 seconds to help prevent the spread of coronavirus

By Rachel DeSantis
March 11, 2020 12:31 PM
washing hands
Credit: Getty

The city of Detroit is taking steps to help restore water to homes with unpaid bills so that residents can wash their hands as coronavirus continues to spread.

Mayor Mike Duggan announced on Monday that city residents who have had their service cut off can get their water restored for a $25 reactivation fee, which will then segue into a $25 per month payment plan for as long as the virus continues to be an issue.

Duggan said at a press conference that those eligible should call 313-386-9727 starting on Wednesday, and the office of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer would cover the initial $25 cost for those unable to pay.

“Given the importance of hand washing in preventing the spread of this virus, to deal with the question of, ‘What happens with water shut-offs?’ the governor and I sat down and said, ‘We’re going to have a solution that no resident of the city of Detroit has their water shut off for lack of funds,’” he said.

Duggan added that after speaking with Detroit Water and Sewerage Department Gary Brown, Gov. Whitmore and others, the Great Lakes Water Authority was able to transfer $1.1 million in additional assistance to the city, as well as $500,000 to the city of Flint.

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“If you receive a shut-off notice, you can avoid your water shut off by paying $25, and we will keep your rates at $25 a month as long as COVID-19 remains a health threat in this community, which will certainly be a period of several months,” he said.

While Duggan said city executives believed that this put all residents in a position to be able to afford water, he acknowledged that that may not always be the case, and so, for the next 30 days, said the state would cover the initial $25 if need be.

“There is no financial reason anybody in the city of Detroit should have their water shut off,” he said. “The only residents of Detroit who should not have water on are those who don’t reach out. It won’t be for a lack of money.”

Brown also spoke at the press conference, and said that 92 to 94 percent of Detroit residential customers pay their bills on time, and that about 3,000 households have had their water shut off.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you’ve been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were two reported cases of coronavirus in Michigan, according to The New York Times. The United States has seen 1,026 cases and 31 deaths.