LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer pleaded for discipline during her Wednesday press briefing, asking residents to keep following the stay-at-home order as coronavirus (COVID-19) numbers fall.
Whitmer’s plea comes amid a warmup around the state and a protest scheduled for Thursday at the Capitol in Lansing.
UPDATE -- May 13, 2020: Michigan coronavirus cases up to 48,391; Death toll now at 4,714
The governor is standing her ground, saying it’s a two-week lag for good news to arise. She believes many customers and employees are fearful, so she is going to continue moving slowly.
The COVID-19 shutdown is causing economic wreckage, and Whitmer is already making arrangements to cut the budget, and state employees are about to take a major hit.
“Impacted state employees will take two temporary layoff days per pay period, beginning on Sunday, May 17, until July 25, which will result in an estimated $80 million in decreased wage costs,” Whitmer said. “Thank you to the state employees for doing your part.”
Considerable pressure to open state businesses is mounting, but Whitmer remains committed to her plan.
“We’re watching, of course, what’s going on in other states, and in Georgia, for instance, the governor said, ‘Let’s all go back,’” Whitmer said. “People don’t buy it. They’re nervous, and so even though a sector of the economy is free to engage in business, it’s hard to get customers to come out because they’re scared. It’s hard to get employees to show up because they’re scared, and that’s why we’ve worked so closely with businesses to make sure that we are promulgating best practices.”
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Thursday’s protest is expected to be on the lawn of the Capitol Building, and Whitmer said Wednesday on national television she believes the protests have spread the virus across some parts of the state.
“It is when you were touching one another,” Whitmer said. “We saw a lot of that at these protests at the Capitol, and that’s how COVID-19 spreads. It’s incredibly contagious, and there are a lot of people getting COVID-19 who are asymptomatic, and so they’re conducting life and so they’re healthy because they honestly think the’y healthy, but they’re carrying it and spreading it.”
Michigan State Police are bracing for the protest, and Lt. Mike Shaw said the long guns will get a long look from troopers.