Thursday, Governor Whitmer announced the extension of her Stay Home Stay Safe executive order to April 30. Along with the extension, Whitmer is calling for increased precautionary measures and enforcement.
In her latest press update, Whitmer referenced Dr. Anthony Fauci’s, White House coronavirus advisor, recent comments.
“We need to keep pushing mitigation strategies because their is no doubt they are having a positive impact on the dynamics of this outbreak. Now is not the time to pull back at all. It is the time to intesify.”
Amplified safety measures under the extension include:
- All public and private gatherings of any size are prohibited.
- Limit the number of household members running errands to a minimum.
- Large stores are limited to 4 customers per 1,000 square feet.
- Small stores are limited to 25 percent of their total occupancy limit
- Stores must have labeled lines to keep customers 6 feet apart
- Stores must close nonessential departments (flooring, furniture, gardening)
“Now more than ever we have to double down and do everything we can to fight this disease,” said Michigan Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “If we loosen up too soon, more people will die and our hospitals will get overwhelmed…today’s extension is the most important thing we can do to slow the spread of this disease.”
Still there are critics of the statewide extension including Michigan Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield who tweeted,
“We had a chance today to protect public health and take a positive step towards recovery. Unfortunately rather than focusing on what’s safe, the governor decided again who is ‘essential'”.
Considering there are rural areas of Michigan without any identifiable cases of the virus, some believed Governor Whitmer should have considered a revised order dictated by regions instead of statewide.
To this she responded,
“COVID-19 does not observe county line. We really need a comprehensive policy…We can observe a statewide order to protect everyone.”
She added the more people move around the more likely the virus will spread. Whitmer spoke with rural hospital CEOs who were concerned about people traveling to a second home and potentially bringing COVID-19 to areas that are not equipped to handle it.
People can still leave their home for outdoor activities. In fact, as long as social distancing is practiced, the governor encouraged recreational activities as a way for people to take care of themselves.
There is an exception though. Golfers should not expect to hit the course anytime soon.
“Golf is not critical infrastructure…to be candid just by engaging, it can expose people to risk,” said Whitmer who also notes “Every exception makes [the order] less likely to be successful…I’m in the business of saving lives. That’s precisely what this order will do.”
As of Thursday, there are more than 21,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Michigan and more than 1,000 deaths.