LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer made several major announcements Thursday in regard to the state’s battle with the coronavirus (COVID-19). She extended the stay-at-home order, announced the restart of manufacturing and outlined the six stages of her plan to reopen Michigan.
The news of manufacturing reopening is something many people wanted to hear. Manufacturing workers, including the Big Three automakers, can begin work Monday (May 11).
The manufacturing decision came along with Whitmer’s announcement that the stay-at-home order would be extended to May 28.
“We’ve really pushed the curve down dramatically, saved our health system, gathered (personal protective equipment), and now we can safely begin phasing in sectors of our economy,” Whitmer said.
Auto suppliers can open next week and Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler are expected to officially reopen May 18. Auto production will begin in earnest.
“Manufacturing is about 19% of our economy, and we’ve already got 4%-5%, which is essential,” Whitmer said. “This is truly good news for our state. This is an incremental step.”
Whitmer has a regional reopening map as part of her plan to restart the state, but that’s still in the background. She is serious about going slow, so right now, she’s using stages of the virus for her decision-making.
It’s a six-step process, with the first two being “uncontrolled growth“ and “persistent spread.“ Michigan has passed those phases, according to the governor.
Whitmer said Michigan is currently in the third phase, which is called “flattening.“ The next three stages are “improving,“ “moving to containing“ and “past pandemic.”
The final stage comes when there’s a vaccine.
Whitmer spoke about the three-quarters of Michigan’s economy that’s still shuttered.
“That’s why it’s important we continue to be smart, do it in incremental stages,” Whitmer said. “We’ve done incredible work for eight weeks.”
Thursday’s announcements also rolled out details about how manufacturing companies will be expected to keep workers safe from the spread of COVID-19.