Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley announced Wednesday that he will implement a city-wide curfew beginning Thursday to fight the spread of COVID-19.

Under the executive order, Flint residents are required to remain in their homes from 9 pm to 6 am unless they are providing or obtaining essential services as defined in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order.

Essential services include grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, banks, gas stations and restaurants with takeout or delivery options.

Failure to comply with the curfew is a misdemeanor and could land residents up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.

The curfew will remain in place through May 1.

“This may not be popular among some of you, but we have to be proactive about this virus. We have been getting reports of people gathering at the parking lots of convenience stores,” Neeley said. “We need to curtail those places where the virus could be spread. That’s why we had to elevate to a curfew.”

There were 249 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Genesee County as of Wednesday afternoon, and eight people in the county have died from the virus.

Statewide, there have been 9,334 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 337 deaths from the virus.

The first two presumptive-positive cases of COVID-19 in Michigan were confirmed on March 10. Whitmer declared a state of emergency the same day and has since issued executive orders closing schools and nonessential businesses.

Andrew Roth is a reporter and photographer covering politics and policy in Michigan, as well technology, culture and their convergence. Andrew is a journalism student at Michigan State University and first...