Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has extended the state’s stay-at-home order through May 15, while also relaxing restrictions for some businesses.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed a new executive order to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. Her new order also lifts some restrictions on businesses and activities.
But her action Friday is not enough for Republican critics. GOP leaders called the Legislature back to the Capitol as political tensions ratcheted up.
Governor Whitmer announced her plans from the state’s emergency operations center. She says she understands hardships came with her stay-at-home order. But she says, by and large, people are complying.
“It’s doing the right thing and it’s paying off.”
The new order also now requires people to wear face masks when they venture into public places such as grocery stores. That’s on top of social distancing. She says the number of confirmed new cases appears to be headed in the right direction, but Michigan still has a lot of cases and deaths have topped 3,000 people now.
“We know that if we do it too fast, a second wave is likely and would be even more devastating than the moment that we are in.”
University of Michigan public health professor David Hutton researches infectious diseases. He’s OK with re-opening some businesses, but says it needs to be done cautiously. He says it’s probably smart for the governor to retain her emergency powers for the duration of the crisis.
“The state really needs to have a lot of testing infrastructure and contact tracing infrastructure in place and I don’t think we’re there yet, and it’s not clear that we’ll be there by the end of the month,” he said.
“So, I think extending that seems reasonable.”
The Michigan Constitution gives governors broad authority to act during a crisis to protect life and property. But, at some point, a governor has to go to the Legislature to renew or extend emergency orders.
Whitmer says those bills are a distraction from addressing the crisis and will be vetoed once they reach her desk.
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