LANSING, Mich. – Minutes after the state announced updated COVID-19 restrictions, Michigan Republicans released a statement “condemning” the decision to keep many businesses closed through the holidays.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Friday that the state is revising its COVID-19 order to resume in-person high school classes, reopen certain indoor entertainment venues and allow non-contact outdoor sports and fitness classes.
While some indoor venues where people can wear masks and maintain social distancing will be allowed to reopen, other parts of the economy -- most notably indoor dining at restaurants -- are still banned.
“I am happy to see that Gov. Whitmer has decided to let our kids go back to school after coming under pressure from the Michigan Republican Party and others,” Michigan Republican Party Chair Laura Cox said. “However, I am disappointed that Gov. Whitmer continues to ignore the pleas of citizens across Michigan who are suffering personally and financially due to her shutdown policies. I condemn Gov. Whitmer’s decision to keep many small businesses closed, and hope she reverses this course of action so that Michigan families can have financial stability this holiday season.”
To clarify, Michigan’s COVID-19 orders have come from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services since the state’s Supreme Court shot down the law Whitmer was using to issue her executive orders.
Whitmer has worked with MDHHS Director Robert Gordon and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun to announce the restrictions.
The revised order goes into effect Monday (Dec. 21) and is scheduled to last until Jan. 15. However, officials would be willing to consider lifting more restrictions before Jan. 15 if Michigan makes enough progress, Whitmer said.
“These past few weeks, Michiganders across the state stepped up and did their part to slow the spread of COVID-19, and because of our collective hard work, we are now able to begin the steps to carefully lift some of the protocols we have in place,” Whitmer said. “I am encouraged by the progress we have made since early November, and will continue to monitor the data closely during and after the holidays.
“One of the most important things Michiganders can do right now is make a plan to get the safe and effective vaccine as soon as it’s available to you. And as always: mask up, practice safe social distancing, and avoid indoor gatherings where COVID-19 can easily spread from person to person. We will eradicate this virus together.”
“We have made some progress in our fight against this pandemic, and this was a historical week as we started to distribute life-saving vaccines,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. “It is important that everyone continues to do their part. Start planning for when you will get a vaccine when it is available to you, and let’s avoid a surge in cases after the holidays by avoiding gatherings, wearing our masks, and continuing to socially distance.”