Can Michiganders be confident that COVID-19 order won’t be extended beyond Jan. 31?

MDHHS order in effect through at least Jan. 31

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

LANSING, Mich. – After announcing that the COVID-19 restrictions in Michigan would be extended through the end of the month, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was asked how people can be confident there won’t be another extension.

Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday that the order, which was set to expire Friday (Jan. 15), has been revised and extended until Jan. 31.

LATEST: Michigan extends COVID-19 order through end of January, but permits more physical activities

“What is going to change between now and Feb. 1 where people can be confident it’s not going to be extended past that, just yet again?” Whitmer was asked.

The governor started by expressing concern about a new variant of COVID-19, which mutated and has been detected in the United Kingdom and several states around the country.

She said there is a lag between when the new variant is present and when it can be detected.

“When this appears in Michigan, it is going to be a very concerning moment,” Whitmer said.

Vaccine progress is also a factor, according to the governor.

READ: 13 takeaways from Gov. Whitmer’s COVID update Wednesday (Jan. 13)

“These are all really important because we are racing to try to get vaccines in arms before this variant -- we see community spread in Michigan,” Whitmer said.

MDHHS Director Robert Gordon said state officials will keep an eye on the case rate, percent positivity and hospitalizations to determine whether restaurants and other segments of the economy can reopen Feb. 1.

“In the next two weeks, we’re going to continue to watch the numbers,” Whitmer said. “We’re going to continue to work with the industry.”

She said consumer confidence is a “very important part of our economic resurgence,” so state officials will also monitor how reopening will be affected in that regard.

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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.