House Republicans Unveil Plan To Reopen Michigan

By Scott McClallen

(The Center Square) – Michigan House Republicans on Monday unveiled a three-step plan to return Michiganders to work.

House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R- Levering, said in a statement that “the current one-size-fits-all approach” isn’t working for thousands of families worried about paying bills.

“This is about giving people hope for the future and peace of mind about what comes next,” Chatfield said. “We are all concerned about our health and safety during this crisis, and any plan put forward has to make that the top priority.”

The first step would break the state’s 83 counties into three tiers based on a risk-based, regional approach using the following criteria:

  •  Hospital admissions rate
  •  Preparedness (ICU bed capacity, overall bed capacity, ventilator capacity, PPE inventory, testing capacity, etc.)
  •  Rate of spread (e.g., doubling time)
  •  Positive tests relative to total tests and population density per county
  •  Rate of ICU patients being placed on ventilators
  •  Immunity rate (based on antibody tests, once available)
  •  Ability to contain spread/contact tracing
  •  Reported deaths
  •  Implementation of workplace best practices
  •  Percentage of growth in positive cases above positive case thresholds

Tier one, the highest-risk category, would enact the same restrictions as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order 2020-42 with two exceptions.

There would be no item sale ban on large stores and counties would adopt the most recent federal guidance for critical workers.

Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne Counties have the majority of the state’s 31,424  COVID-19 cases and 2,391 deaths, as of Sunday.

Tier two would have slightly relaxed restrictions, such as allowing businesses to sell remotely and curbside with safety precautions, allowing Michiganders to travel between residences, and easing the ban on elective outpatient procedures if there’s enough supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing for at-risk hospital workers.

The third tier would lift the stay-home requirements for healthy people but keep occupancy restrictions on businesses that are open to consumers.

Industries deemed not safe could only operate remotely and through curbside service. Outdoor recreation and nonessential travel restrictions would be lifted if individuals follow precautions.

The ban on elective outpatient procedures would also be lifted, given that hospitals have enough equipment.

A “transition task force” would choose which sectors or parts of them are safe for tier-three counties, recommend assignments or reassignments of counties in a weekly report, and aid industry groups to develop and share safe workplace practices.

The current executive order active through April 30 throws a blanket ban on many business operations across the state.

Step two would shift the Metro Detroit counties to tier two and other counties to tier three, in which limited buildings such as restaurants, gyms, and theatres could reopen if they enact strict safety precautions.

Step three would consider temporary crowd control measures.

It would also transition from governing from executive orders to legislation.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, introduced the senate’s plan last week.

Whitmer told the Detroit Regional Chamber in a tele-town hall on Friday that she will share more details on her plan to start re-engaging the economy in news conferences this week.

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