Michigan governor not afraid to shut state back down if COVID-19 cases continue to rise

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says she 'won't be bullied' into reopening Michigan

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she is prepared to move the state backward in the reopening plan as coronavirus (COVID-19) cases increase.

LANSING, Mich. – With positive coronavirus (COVID-19) cases ticking up, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she’s not afraid to shut the state back down if the trend continues.

Whitmer said Michigan could have moved to phase five of her reopening plan by Fourth of July, but she’s pulled back because of troubling trends.

“I’m not going to be bullied into moving before it’s safe,” Whitmer said. “If we have to move back, we’re going to.”

Whitmer was defiant while speaking Tuesday morning with CNN. She said there are disturbing trends across the state.

“We’ve done an incredible amount of work, and I would hate to think that this sacrifice that we have made would be made in vain because some people are losing interest or are dropping their guard,” Whitmer said. “We’ve got to double down right now more than ever.”

She told the nation that recently reopened hair salons could get shuttered again. She also said it looks like movie theaters and gyms won’t be opening any time soon.

“So not having bars serving indoors -- that’s one thing,” Whitmer said. “But we’re going to continue to monitor the numbers. If they keep moving up, we’re going to dial back if we have to. That’s the last thing any of us want.”

Whitmer said she would like to see a nationwide mask requirement and continued her criticism of President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 approach.

She also said she’s using epidemiology as her guide in keeping the state where it is in terms of reopening.

“We’re seeing things like this play out across the country,” Whitmer said. “We’ve got to all do our part to make sure that that doesn’t happen. The numbers that we’re seeing in the south, in particular, are really concerning. We have not seen that kind of an uptick yet, but that’s precisely what we want to avoid.”

Whitmer’s office turned down an interview request from Local 4, but sent the following statement:

Gov. Whitmer will continue to monitor the data. If we see a second wave of COVID-19 coming, we may have to move backward in the MI Safe Start Plan, which is the last thing any of us want to do. We must remain flexible and nimble and plan for various scenarios. COVID-19 is still very present in Michigan, and this is not a time for Michiganders to let their guards down. We must continue to do everything in our power to flatten the curve and prevent more spread.”

About the Authors:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.