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Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like this whole quarantine business will end anytime soon, at least for some of us.
Michigan’s governor, Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, announced today she would be extending the state’s stay at home order until the end of the month. Additionally, the governor announced that she would now be banning travel between residences, with few exceptions.
While some praised the governor’s decision, many pointed out that the extension to ban travel between residences, even vacation homes, hits an extreme level.
The Detroit Free Press has the details on the governor’s orders:
After Friday, Michigan residents will no longer be able to jump in the car — or cross the street — to visit friends and relatives inside the state, or to go to the cottage Up North, with limited exceptions.
That is one of the major changes in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “stay home” order, issued Thursday, which also extends the expiration of the order to May 1.
Until now, travel between two Michigan residences has been permitted.
Beginning Saturday morning, that will end, except for purposes such as caring for a relative, an elderly friend, or a pet, visiting a nursing home or similar facility, attending a funeral with no more than 10 people, or complying with a court order related to child custody.
“All public and private gatherings of any size are prohibited,” Whitmer said at a news conference. “People can still leave the house for outdoor activities,” and outdoor “recreational activities are still permitted as long as they’re taking place outside of six feet from anyone else.”
People will still be able to travel to other residences outside the state, but not to cottages or vacation rentals inside the state, the order says.
Take a look at the reactions to the governor’s ban:
Residents pointed out their dissatisfaction with the governor's actions, stating that too many businesses have been deemed "non-essential" under the governor's orders. Some have suggested the governor allow businesses in areas without high COVID infection rates to reopen as long as they take precautionary measures.
MLive reports on residents reactions to the governor's ban:
When Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced an initial stay-at-home order for Michigan residents in late March to limit the spread of COVID-19, she didn’t get much pushback.
That changed when she announced an extension of the blanket ban on non-essential business and activity through April 30 and added a few new restrictions on travel and stores allowed to remain open.
Several Republican lawmakers voiced their concerns Thursday with various aspects of the administration’s COVID-19 response.
House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, called the order “a one-size-fits-all approach that puts fear ahead of public safety," and said the government shouldn’t be deciding what is and isn’t essential and instead should focus on what jobs and activities can be done safely.
And Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clark Lake, said Michigan residents should be trusted with the ability to go back to their jobs and reopen their businesses if they’re in regions that aren’t experiencing growth in COVID-19 infection rates.
“Governor Whitmer’s decision to extend the Order for another three weeks without commonsense revisions will unnecessarily hurt regions of our state and sectors of our economy that can operate, safely,” he said in a statement.
The extension of the stay-at-home order was announced at the same time health officials reported there have been 1,076 deaths from the virus statewide. Michigan on Thursday became the third state to report at least 1,000 deaths, following New York and New Jersey.
For the 11th consecutive day, Michigan is reporting more than 1,000 new confirmed cases of coronavirus. However, the 1,158 additional confirmed cases announced today are the fewest new ones Michigan has seen in a single day since March 31.
Michigan has 21,504 total confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Whitmer and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said in a Thursday news conference extreme social distancing measures are having an impact, but have to be maintained to effectively fight the disease.
“Too many people are getting sick and too many people are dying,” Khaldun said. “Without sustained social distancing measures, meaning if we loosen up too soon, more people will die and hospitals will become overwhelmed.”
Asked about the exceptions to the order some lawmakers and industry groups are seeking - including access to golf courses, landscaping and gardening services and home renovations - Whitmer said the economy will keep suffering for longer if these measures are not taken.
“Every single exception to the Stay Home, Stay Safe order makes this more porous and less likely to work,” she said.
Watch the governor's announcement below: