Gov. Gretchen Whitmer today ordered a statewide stay-at-home order to extend through the end of the month that she said will avoid the worst of an economic recession by prioritizing public health.
The order also tightens restrictions on travel throughout the state, saying it should only be done for food, medical supplies and work that is “necessary to sustain or protect life.” Whitmer addressed calls to reopen parts of the economy, particularly from the business community and top GOP lawmakers.
“There are two crises we are facing: one is health, one is economic,” Whitmer said. “If we don’t get the health crisis under control, the economic one will go on and on and on.”
The latest figures show Michigan has 21,504 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19, and 1,076 deaths, while “still on the upswing,” Whitmer said.
In a press conference from Lansing that covered the latest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths, health modeling, unemployment, racial inequity and mental health, Whitmer spoke to ongoing questions about the economic impact of the coronavirus.
She responded to calls about reopening portions of the economy — landscaping and golfing were specifically mentioned — that have emerged in recent days, saying that strengthening stay-home orders now will prevent a spike in cases and hospital overcrowding.
“We have to double-down to save lives,” Whitmer said, adding that not doing so would prolong economic recovery.
Before Whitmer had concluded her press conference, Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, said on Twitter the extension is the “wrong call” and “unacceptable.”
“We had a chance today to protect public health and take a positive step towards recovery. Unfortunately, rather than focus on what’s safe, the governor decided again who is ‘essential,’” Chatfield said.
Whitmer’s executive order extends the stay home order through April 30, which is also when Whitmer’s emergency powers are scheduled to end. The Legislature this week voted to extend the emergency declaration through the end of April, but Whitmer had sought a 70-day extension.
Today’s order prohibits businesses from requiring workers to leave their home unless they are “necessary to sustain or protect life or to conduct minimum basic operations.” Sectors include health care and public health, law enforcement, food and agriculture, critical manufacturing, energy and financial services. The full list is here.
Businesses should designate workers who meet the criteria while adopting social distancing practices.
Also, the latest order encourages people to limit the number of household members running errands and prohibits all public and private gatherings among people outside of a single household. Residents are still encouraged to go outside for recreational activity while following social distancing.
The order clarifies that travel for vacations or any other purpose is prohibited.