UPDATE: March 23, 2020
All of us at OutFront Kalamazoo have been working hard to monitor and adapt to the ever-changing COVID-19 situation in our communities. We know you’re doing your part to slow the spread of the virus and we’re trying hard to do our part, too. After very careful consideration we have decided to reschedule Kalamazoo Pride for later this year. We are exploring several options and we will let you know as soon as new dates and new details are certain.
In the meantime, we will keep you informed of our progress. We know you must be disappointed, but rest assured we will find creative ways to manage these days of social distancing and make certain the community remains proud, healthy, safe and strong. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out at [email protected].
Recent News: Governor Whitmer has issued an Executive Order for Michiganders to stay home until April 13th, 2020, with the exception of “essential” workers (including but not limited to health care workers, law enforcement, and grocery store workers). Learn more here and here.
Video above by our Executive Director, Amy Hunter, about the Executive Order and how important of a responsibility it is to stay home during this time.
UPDATE: March 17,2020
With so many large gatherings, meetups, festivals and sports events getting canceled, we’re sure you’re all wondering: what’s going to happen with Kalamazoo Pride?
Like you, we are monitoring developments and taking steps to minimize the possible spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus. We have closed our physical office temporarily and moved much of our programming to digital channels. But, we want you to know that while staff are working remotely, Pride planning continues. While it is too early to make a final determination about the timing of this year’s event, we are doing everything we can to ensure that Kalamazoo Pride 2020 will take place this year.
We will continue to monitor county, state, and CDC guidance regarding necessary or required precautions. In the meantime, we will continue to update you as plans for Pride unfold.
For updates, please revisit this page. We will be updating as regularly as information becomes available. Thank you for your patience, and if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to send an email to [email protected].
In an effort to keep the community informed, below are several updates concerning financial security during this time in Kalamazoo County and across the state.
We have also added several resources to the right-hand side of this page, including food and employment resources, which we will be updating when new information becomes available.
- Posted 3/15/2020 (UpNorthLive): Consumer’s Energy Suspends Shut-offs for Senior and Low-Income Customers
- Posted 3/16/2020 (MLive): Governor Whitmer Expands Unemployment Benefits to Include Sick Workers, Caregivers
- Posted 3/16/2020 (MLive): Home Foreclosures Halted in Kalamazoo County Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
And finally, take a look at this video made by our Director of Advocacy, Marshall Kilgore, on some important physical and mental health tips during this time:
March 13, 2020
Here at OutFront Kalamazoo, our staff is dedicated to protecting the health and safety of the LGBTQ+ community, and we understand that you, our community members, may have some concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) following the Governor’s recent State of Emergency announcement. We urge you to be mindful of the information you consume regarding the virus, whether it’s from social media or a news source, as misinformation on public health matters can be dangerous and misleading.
OutFront has been doing everything we can to ensure that our space is as clean and safe as possible for the community; and after much deliberation, we have decided that in order to help prevent the spread of the virus, we will be closing the office effective the afternoon of Friday, March 13th, at 5pm, and we will remain closed until further notice. All programs and activities are canceled until further notice (Connections Youth Group, Transcend, Intersections, QWC, OutGoing, etc), but are putting plans in place for alternative group sessions by utilizing technology. If you have questions about a group you’re in, please contact us for details at [email protected]. Our internal functions will continue, as all staff will be working remotely, and we will still be able to provide referrals to LGBTQ+ friendly establishments and resources via email to those who need them. We will be continuously evaluating the situation in order to determine when we will open the center again, however at this time we do not wish to provide an avenue for the virus to spread to our community— a community which is already more vulnerable to sickness than the average population.
Should you be in need of resources, or if you have any questions or concerns, please email [email protected] and our staff will do everything we can to help.
Here are some basic tips to help you stay safe and healthy during this time.
- Hand-washing is the best and biggest way to combat the spread of germs. Wash your hands with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds (or, the length of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” to yourself twice). Wash your hands often, making sure to scrub your hands and fingers well. If you can’t wash your hands, use antibacterial hand sanitizer.
- Use alternative greetings. Physical touch like hugging, kissing, and touching hands are all common parts of the greetings we use in our community, however currently we suggest thinking about an alternative that you’re comfortable with. Waving, elbow-bumping, air-kisses, and air-hugging are all great substitutes.
- When in public spaces, take responsibility. If you need to be in a public space, be mindful of your surroundings and make sure to wash your hands frequently. Pay special attention to what you touch.
- Try not to touch your face. COVID-19 can enter your system through touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Before you touch your face, make sure to wash your hands appropriately.
- Please stay home if you’re sick or not feeling well, especially if you are coughing, you have a fever, or you’re experiencing shortness of breath. From the CDC website: If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider immediately.
If you would like more guidance and information on COVID-19, please go to the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov