Michigan lawmaker asks governor to allow more businesses to operate amid coronavirus crisis

Rep. Triston Cole says businesses can practice social distancing

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

DETROIT – A Michigan lawmaker is asking the governor to allow more nonessential businesses to operate during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

Rep. Triston Cole, of Mancelona, said more businesses can resume operations as long as safe social distancing recommendations are followed.

UPDATE -- March 30, 2020: Michigan coronavirus cases up to 6,498; Death toll now at 184

Cole sent a letter to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, saying her stay-at-home order is unnecessarily restrictive on many small businesses. He named construction and landscaping as businesses that could safely resume.

“I certainly understand where our governor is coming from," Cole said. "Public safety must always be the main priority. However, keeping people employed and businesses operating must also be a priority. Many entities operate with just one, two or three people in any location at any given time. Single-family new construction projects, remodels, pole barn/garages, landscaping, dock work, lawn maintenance, delivery of materials, and several other jobs can be completed with very limited social interaction and without jeopardizing public safety.”

In the letter, Cole suggested Whitmer could create certain guidelines and restrictions that allow business to be conducted while following health and safety guidelines. For example, he suggested limiting crew sizes or allowing crews to stagger throughout a 24-hour timeline.

“When circumstances allow, small job providers should be allowed to continue their work,” Cole said. “Better defining what work activities can continue under the limited and modified circumstances will help take the financial and emotional strain off many families.”

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