Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday extended the state’s stay-at-home order to May 15, while making some revisions to the policy — even as the state’s legislature has scheduled a special session to launch a committee to review her actions in response to the coronavirus crisis.
“Data shows that most Michiganders are doing their part by staying home and staying safe. That’s good, but we must keep it up. Social distancing is our best weapon to defeat this enemy,” Whitmer said in a statement. “With new COVID-19 cases leveling off, however, we are lifting some of the restrictions put in place in the previous order.”
“I want to be crystal clear: the overarching message today is still the same. We must all do our part by staying home and staying safe as much as possible,” she said,
The current order had been scheduled to expire next week, and is now being replaced by one that tightens some restrictions and loosens others.
The new order requires, rather than encourages, residents to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces and says employers must provide coverings to their employees. But landscapers, lawn-service companies and bike repair shops will be allowed to resume operations, as long as they follow social distancing rules. Those selling nonessential supplies can reopen for curbside pickup and delivery.
But the order does not explicitly address the auto industry, an industry vital in places such as Detroit. It does, however, flag “transportation and logistics” and “critical manufacturing” as areas where some employees could return to work.
“This is one of what will be many waves,” Whitmer said. “My hope is that we can contemplate the next one. But it all depends on if people observe these best practices, if we can keep the COVID-19 trajectory headed downward and if we can keep people safe.”
Critics have accused Whitmer, a 48-year-old first-term Democratic governor, of overstepping her authority with a series of measures intended to stem the spread of coronavirus. A ban on garden centers selling gardening supplies and on residents visiting relatives were cited as two glaring examples of overreach.
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