Michigan Gov. Whitmer talks reopening northern economy, vice president speculation

Whitmer discusses plans to reopen industries in northern Michigan on TODAY’s 3rd Hour

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer appeared Tuesday on TODAY’s 3rd Hour to discuss the reopening of Michigan’s economy.

On Monday Gov. Whitmer cleared northern Michigan counties to partially reopen bars, restaurants and retail under her MI Safe Start Plan.

During her interview with host Craig Melvin, Whitmer says that the upper peninsula and northern counties in the lower peninsula have shown a decline in COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations. With a decrease in numbers the zones have been moved into the fourth -- “Improving” -- phase of Whitmer’s reengagement plan, allowing them to begin reopening some businesses.

MORE: Why Northern Michigan was chosen for next phase of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s reopening plan

“(We will) measure, continue to monitor and continue to work with the locals to make sure that we’re doing this safely,” Whitmer said. “These incremental steps we think are safe to take now and we’re going to; and we’re going to continue to watch the data.”

Reopening businesses are still expected to maintain social distancing guidelines and implement safety protocols, including rigorous cleaning measures, limiting capacity to 50% and requiring workers to wear face coverings.

“We know that if we drop our guard now, we could be in for a second wave (of COVID-19) -- and that would make all of the sacrifices that we’ve made the last 10 weeks in vain and we’d have to take steps backward," Whitmer said. "While we’re not universal in a lot of things in this moment, I think we all know we don’t want to take a step backward. So everyone has to keep their guard up and be vigilant and do everything they can to mitigate the spread.”

Gov. Whitmer says the state is prioritizing its ability to test, trace and isolate COVID-19 in the state in an effort to better contain the spread of the virus. If the state does see a “second wave” after businesses begin to reopen, Whitmer believes the state can react quickly and will take necessary action.

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