MI Gov. Whitmer: I Don’t Regret State Lockdown Policy Despite Protests

Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) said she has no regrets on any of the restrictions of her stay home order in response to the coronavirus pandemic despite the protests in her state.

Partial transcript as follows:

TODD: All right, let’s talk about the issue of reopening the economy. Governor Whitmer, I want to start with you. You, you saw those protests. So let me ask this, do you have any regrets on any of the restrictions that you have put into place?

WHITMER: I don’t. And here’s why. You know, Michigan right now has the third highest number of death from COVID-19. And yet, we’re the tenth largest state. We have a disproportionate problem in the state of Michigan. And so, we could take the same kinds of actions other states have, but it doesn’t rise to the challenge we’re confronting. And that’s precisely why we have to take a more aggressive stand. It’s working. We are seeing the curve start to flatten. But as people come in from across the state and gather and congregate without masks, without standing six feet apart, without those important protections, it means that they might have gone back to these parts of our state and perhaps brought COVID-19 along with them. Our rural hospitals are not equipped to handle a big surge. And that’s why this — important steps that we’ve taken are just critical to continuing to flatten that curve.

TODD: Governor Whitmer, I want to stay with you here a minute on this issue though. I’m just curious, what have you learned about people’s patience, I guess, and your citizenry’s patience? And are you contemplating figuring out how to balance that a little bit? How do you essentially open a steam valve a little bit so that you don’t — so that these protests don’t become distractions to the greater good?

WHITMER: Yeah. Absolutely. You know, every executive order that I’ve taken weighs heavily on me. I know when we pull kids out of school, that means they’re not getting the education they need. And some of them aren’t going to get the meals that they’ve come to rely on. I know that when we shut down bars and make restaurants dine out only, there are businesses that may never open again. And a lot of people are going to get laid off. These stay home orders weigh incredibly heavy because I know there’s an economic cost. I know there’s a mental health cost. People are struggling with this isolation that we have, you know, on top of all of the other stressors. But the fact of the matter is we have to be really smart about how we proceed. I’m glad to see that the White House recommended opening in phases or waves or whatever terminology you want to use. The fact of the matter is, we can’t just turn back to what life was like before COVID-19. We have to be strategic. We have to be careful. We have to look at different sectors of our economy. How often do they interact with the public? How close are — they work together? Are they indoor or outdoor? Do they share tools and machinery? I mean, all of these are factors that have to go into a really thoughtful situation where we start to phase back in sectors of our economy. But I’m always — we’re doing this calculation every day and looking to when we can do that safely because the worst thing would be a second wave.

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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