LANSING, Mich. – Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield released a statement Thursday opposing an extension of the stay-at-home order, shortly after the extension was announced.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the order, which aims to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), is extended until April 30. This means that only workers deemed essential can continue to work until that date.
The order was originally slated to end April 14.
Chatfield said that Whitmer should be looking at which jobs and activities can be done safely rather than issuing a blanket stay-at-home order.
“The government shouldn’t be deciding who is essential. Everyone in Michigan is essential,” Chatfield said. “We need to make safety the deciding factor and allow people in low-risk communities and workplaces to begin getting back to normal. We can do all of that and still prioritize public health as the deciding factor."
According to Chatfield, Whitmer’s decision to extend the order goes against recommendations provided by the caucus.
Chatfield pointed to how many Michiganders have been impacted by the order, saying that prolonging the order is not a solution.
“People in our state are hurting right now. Families are locked in their homes, unemployment is skyrocketing, and the government isn’t answering their calls for help," he said. "We need a real, forward-looking solution to begin helping everyone who has been impacted by this pandemic. Today’s executive order is not that solution.”
Whitmer said Wednesday that she knows people have been negatively impacted, but that keeping people at home is necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“I know it’s taken a toll and I know it’s hard, but we also know that we are still on the upward swing” of the virus spread, Whitmer told WOOD-TV. “It’s really important that we continue to double down on mitigation and protecting folks by staying home.”