WASHINGTON — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Friday that she hopes to be in a position to ease her state’s strict stay-at-home order by May 1, although she warned that it must be a decision based on scientific data to prevent a second wave of the coronavirus.
“I do hope to have some relaxing come May 1, but it's two weeks away and the information and the data and our ability to test is changing so rapidly, it's hard to tell you precisely where we'll be in a week from now, much less two,” Whitmer said in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
The Democratic governor did not elaborate Friday on which part of the order she might be willing to lift. She said they’ve had to be “really aggressive” in their response to the coronavirus outbreak because she said Michigan has the third highest death rate in the country.
Whitmer has faced fierce backlash from Michigan residents, drawing large protests, after instituting one of the most restrictive stay-at-home orders in the nation. She signed an executive action earlier this month that bans residents from traveling to in-state vacation homes or using motor boats. It also tightened business restrictions which said that large stores, for example, must close areas "dedicated to carpeting, flooring, furniture, garden centers, plant nurseries, or paint."
Whitmer said Friday that it “weighs heavily” on her whenever she has to shut down bars or close schools because that could result in layoffs or kids not receiving the education they need or meals that they rely on.
“I know that there are a lot of businesses and people that are hurting right now, but the fact of the matter is it's better to be six feet apart right now than six feet under, and that is the whole point of this,” she said.
Asked what she thinks of President Donald Trump’s three-phased plan to reopen parts of the country, Whitmer suggested it aligns with what she has been thinking, but there are still issues with it.
“I think for the most part they are commensurate with, you know, what we're all thinking about. This has got to be coming in stages,” Whitmer said, adding that one shortcoming is that the plan only requires the testing of high-risk health care workers.
“We have to have a heck of a lot more robust testing than just high-risk health care workers,” she said.