WASHINGTON — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Thursday that her state’s restrictive stay-at-home order is effectively slowing the rate of coronavirus infections and that she plans to issue an executive order that will extend restrictions while likely permitting some forms of activity.
“It's working. We have flattened our curve, which means we have saved lives,” Whitmer said about her state’s stay-at-home order in an interview on MSNBC’s “Live with Stephanie Ruhle.”
Michigan is “not out of the woods yet,” she said, adding that she plans to issue another order extending some restrictions while easing others. She did not say Thursday when she plans to issue the new rules, but suggested at her press conference on Wednesday that she would release more details on Friday.
“It will permit some activity if our numbers continue to go down and our testing continues to go up,” she said on MSNBC Thursday. “But It's too early to say precisely what each wave looks like and when it happens."
The reopening of Michigan’s economy will happen in waves in which officials will measure whether it’s safe to take the next step, she said.
“We're going to see are we still safe to take the next step, or do we have to even consider pulling back a little bit," Whitmer said. "This is how we're going to have to proceed for the near future.”
The governor said last week that she hoped to begin lifting some of the restrictions in her state by May 1. She signed an executive action earlier this month that bans residents from traveling to in-state vacation homes or using motor boats. The order also tightened business restrictions, saying that large stores, for example, must close areas "dedicated to carpeting, flooring, furniture, garden centers, plant nurseries or paint."
Whitmer has come under fire for the stay-at-home order, which has sparked massive protests in which people were violating social distancing guidelines. She said Thursday that she respects people’s right to dissent, but they must follow the best practices put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The worst irony that could come about from these demonstrations is that they force us to stay in this posture longer than we're already planning to,” Whitmer said. “That's the last thing any of us wants.”