Detroit Regional Chamber > Governor: ‘Let’s Get Through Next 3 Weeks, Then Talk Thoughtfully How to Restart the Economy’

Governor: ‘Let’s Get Through Next 3 Weeks, Then Talk Thoughtfully How to Restart the Economy’

April 9, 2020
Today, as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order to April 30, she sent a clear message to the business community.

Failing to address the health crisis through extreme social distancing will only extend and exacerbate the economic crisis being felt across Michigan. Any actions to reopen the economy will not occur until in May, and even then, would consist of measured steps supported by public health data.

“We have to double down now to save lives. Let’s abide by it and get through the next three weeks,” said Gov. Whitmer, noting that at that point there could be a thoughtful discussion on how to restart the economy.

“You can’t reengage on the economic side without knowing you are doing the right thing on the health side,” she added.

In unequivocal terms, the governor called on businesses and residents to step up and do their part as she announced increased restrictions under the Executive Order.

“If we don’t get the health crisis under control, the economic crisis will go on and on and on,” Gov. Whitmer said. “We need to be on a real track to recovery so we don’t have to revert back to this posture in the fall, that would be the worst possible scenario.”

The governor called for the state to resist carving out exemptions for specific regions of the state or non-critical sectors of the economy such as golf or tourism.

“Every single exception makes it more porous and less likely to work. More people will get sick and more people will die, and it’ll make the economy suffer longer,” Gov. Whitmer said.

The expanded order also restricts residents to travel to vacation homes to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and to protect rural health systems not equipped to accommodate current levels of travel occurring in some areas during the pandemic.

Increased Restrictions for Retailers, Including Ban on Non-Essential Items

Today’s expansion and extension of the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order included stronger measures to reduce crowds in retail stores that are allowed to stay open and prohibited the sale of some non-essential items.

Some of these measures include:

  • Limiting the number of people in the store at one time to no more than four customers for every 1,000 sq. ft. of customer floor space for large stores; small stores must limit capacity to 25% of the total occupancy limits (including employees) under the fire codes.
  • Regulating entry by establishing lines with markings for patrons to enable them to stand at least six feet apart from one another while waiting.
  • Closing areas of larger stores that are dedicated to carpeting, flooring, furniture, garden centers, plant nurseries, or paint.

 Essential Services Limited to Those Necessary to Sustain or Protect Life

Under the Executive Order, businesses are prohibited from requiring workers to leave their homes, unless those workers are necessary to sustain or protect life or to conduct minimum basic operations. There are exceptions maintained for critical infrastructure workers as defined by guidance provided on March 19, 2020.

Some keys components under the Executive Order include:

  • Businesses and operations are to designate the workers who meet those criteria, and must adopt social distancing practices and other mitigation measures to protect workers and patrons in the performance of that in-person work.
  • Workers who are necessary to sustain or protect life include those in health care and public health, law enforcement and public safety, grocery store workers, and more.
  • Necessary government activities include activities performed by critical infrastructure workers, including workers in law enforcement, public safety, and first responders. Such activities also include, but are not limited to, public transit, trash pickup and disposal (including recycling and composting), activities necessary to manage and oversee elections, operations necessary to enable transactions that support the work of a business’s or operation’s critical infrastructure for workers, and the maintenance of safe and sanitary public parks so as to allow for outdoor activity permitted under this order.

A full list of critical infrastructure workers and services are in the Executive Order.

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