Gov. Whitmer warns Michigan will have to ‘take steps backward’ if COVID-19 numbers spike

Governor says if COVID-19 compliance drops, parts of economy could shut down again

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at her Sept. 10, 2020, coronavirus (COVID-19) press briefing.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at her Sept. 10, 2020, coronavirus (COVID-19) press briefing. (WDIV)

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a warning Thursday that if coronavirus (COVID-19) compliance drops in Michigan or case rates spike, the state will have to take steps backward in the reopening process.

The governor was asked if she’s worried about high school athletes and others involved with sports complying with mask protocols as competition resumes.

READ: How coronavirus cases are currently trending in all 8 Michigan regions

Whitmer essentially said if women can wear masks during childbirth, athletes can do so while they play.

“We know that there are woman who are in labor for 20 hours wearing a mask, and that is some of the hardest work you can do -- I know,” Whitmer said. “The fact of the matter is, I don’t want to make light of the necessity of mask wearing.”

Michigan’s ability to play football and engage the economy hinges on people following COVID-19 safety protocols, Whitmer said. If there’s a letdown in compliance that results in a spike in cases, the state could move backward.

“If people drop their guard and we don’t have compliance and numbers spike, we’re going to have to take steps backward, and I know none of us wants to, me especially.”

She’s “imploring” district, league and school officials, as well as coaches and family members, to do what they can to keep athletes safe and encourage following the state’s protocols.

More coverage

Here’s much more recent coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whitmer’s handling of pandemic:

Reopening Michigan:

Health questions, advice:




Individual stories:


About the Author:

Derick is a Senior Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.