Gretchen Whitmer Extends Michigan’s Stay-at-Home Order to May 15

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivers her State of the State address to a joint session of the House and Senate, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019, at the state Capitol in Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
AP Photo/Al Goldis

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced Friday that her state will extend its stay-at-home order to May 15 as part of an effort to combat the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.

In a newly-released order, Whitmer said residents must now wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces such as grocery stores. Additionally, the governor loosened restrictions on outdoor activities like lawn care, boating, and golfing as long as social distancing guidelines are abided by.

The announcement comes after the Michigan Legislature scheduled a special Friday session to launch an oversight committee to review Whitmer’s response to the pandemic. The panel will also consider legislation designed to strip the governor of some of her powers, as first reported by the Detroit Free Press.

The Senate also will consider a pair of bills that would repeal the 1945 Emergency Powers of the Governor Act, which gives wide power to the governor to declare a state of emergency in times of “great public crisis.”

Another bill would amend the Emergency Management Act of 1976, which allows the governor to declare a state of emergency for up to 28 days, to reduce the number of allowable days to 14.

Even if the bills pass both the House and Senate, Whitmer has promised to veto the bills that were introduced in the wake of a protest that attracted thousands of people to Lansing to show their disdain for the stay at home orders.

Whitmer has criticized the proposed legislation and vowed to veto the bills if approved by state lawmakers.

“Of course, I will veto bills that they send over to limit the executive power. I’ve been very clear about that from day one,” the governor stated Thursday. “Those blatant power grabs are bad in good times and dangerous in times of crisis.”

“We have really bent over backwards to make sure that we’re sharing information with them. And I think it’s worked pretty well. It’s not perfect and we don’t agree on everything to be sure,” she added. “But we have gone out of our way to try to keep them included so that they knew what and why the actions that I was taking were necessary.”

Whitmer’s stay-at-home order — which has closed businesses and schools, and even banned visits between neighbors — has drawn ire from residents, sparking protests outside Michigan’s Capitol building in Lansing last week.

Whitmer spoke out against the lockdown protesters, warning that they could prolong the state’s shutdown.

“The worst irony that could come about from these demonstrations is that they force us to stay in this posture longer than — longer than we’re already planning to,” she told MSNBC. “It’s the last thing any of us wants. I can tell you with all confidence that every governor in this country is eager to figure out when we can reopen or re-engage our economies. And yet some of us are going to stay focused on the science so we make sure we do it in the safest manner.”

Thus far, Michigan has 34,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 2,813 deaths, according to data trackers.

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