Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced today she will extend the state's stay-at-home order through May 15 as a way to slow the spread of coronavirus, according to a press release.
The amended order will also require residents to wear face coverings in "enclosed public spaces." However, Whitmer also eased restrictions on outdoor activities like boating, golfing and landscaping, provided residents continue to follow social distancing practices.
The announcement comes the same day the Michigan Legislature planned a special Friday session to create an oversight committee that will assess the governor's coronavirus pandemic response. Last week, Republicans in the legislature who've been unhappy with Whitmer's coronavirus response began introducing bills that would strip certain powers away from the governor.
On Thursday, protestors gathered outside of Whitmer's home to pressure for an end to Michigan's stay-at-home order.
Whitmer has said she will veto any of those bills if passed by state legislatures.
“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 in a press release. “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.”
During an MSNBC interview on Thursday, Whitmer cautioned the protestors that the order could be extended if they continued to hold public gatherings.
“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,” Whitmer 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.”
General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, which all have headquarters in Michigan, have begun planning strategies to reopen their manufacturing operations in the state. The United Auto Workers announced on Thursday it would support Whitmer extending the order.
“We strongly suggest to our companies in all sectors that an early May date is too soon and too risky to our members, their families and their communities,” UAW President Rory Gamble wrote on the union’s website.
As of Friday, Michigan has 35,291 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 2,977 deaths.
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