Could Michigan’s economy start to reopen in May? Governor Whitmer Sends Mixed Messages | Detroit News | Detroit

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  • Darren Hood, Detroit Stock City

On Wednesday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared the protest earlier in the day against her coronavirus stay-at-home order – in which people gathered in Lansing, many not wearing face masks and many disobeying the guidelines of social distancing by holding each other and touching – “maybe just created a need to stretch it out” possibly spreading the virus further.

But on Friday, the governor appeared on hello america saying she hopes to begin “loosening” the state‘s stay-at-home order by May 1. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine had said he hoped to start reopening his state’s economy by then.

Whitmer tempered his statement by saying: “It’s two weeks away, and the information, data and our ability to test are changing so rapidly that it’s hard to [predict] precisely where we will be in a week, let alone two.”

She added: “It’s better to be six feet apart right now than six feet under.”

On Thursday, Michigan Senate Republicans announced a five-step plan to reopen the economy, which called for businesses to open slowly as the number of coronavirus cases declines. Under the plan, large gatherings like concerts and sports would be banned until the virus stops spreading for a month or a vaccine has been developed.

Also on Thursday, Whitmer announced an alliance with six other Midwestern governors, including DeWine, to coordinate the reopening of their states’ economies. In a joint statement, the seven governors said that while the effort will be coordinated, that doesn’t mean states will take the same actions at the same time.

“Our number one priority when analyzing the best time to reopen our economy is the health and safety of our citizens,” the governors said in a statement. “We will make decisions based on facts, science and recommendations from experts in health care, business, labor and education.”

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers announced an extension of the state’s stay-at-home order until May 26. As of now, Michigan’s stay-at-home order runs through April, just like Illinois’.

Of the Midwestern states, Michigan has been hardest hit by the coronavirus, with 28,059 cases reported so far and nearly 2,000 deaths. Illinois has more than 24,593 cases and more than 1,000 deaths, while Indiana has 8,955 cases, Ohio has 7,791, Wisconsin has 3,721, Kentucky has 2,291 and Minnesota counts 1,862.

Nationally, Michigan has the third highest number of positive coronavirus cases and deaths, after New York and New Jersey.

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