In a press conference Thursday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended Michigan’s stay-at-home order until May 28, two weeks longer than the previous order. This comes a week after Whitmer signed three new executive orders extending Michigan’s state of emergency through May 28.
The Stay Home, Stay Safe order, which instructs residents to stay at home except for essential purposes, was previously scheduled to run through May 15. Essential purposes include running essential errands, engaging in outdoor activities and going to work, all while maintaining safe social distancing regulations.
Whitmer previously announced manufacturing workers can resume work on May 11, including workers at Michigan’s Big 3 auto companies. This is part of her six-step MI Safe Start plan, which outlines a gradual reopening for Michigan’s economy.
“This is good news for our state, our businesses and our working families,” Whitmer said. “We’re not out of the woods yet, but this is an important step forward on our MI Safe Start plan to re-engage our economy safely and responsibly.”
The phases of the plan are uncontrolled growth, persistent spread, flattening, improving, containing and post-pandemic. Whitmer claimed Michigan is currently in step three, flattening, which means the growth of cases is no longer increasing and the healthcare system is capable of meeting current needs.
“The worst thing we can do is open up in a way that causes a second wave of infections and death, puts health care workers at further risk and wipes out all the progress we’ve made,” Whitmer said. “That’s why we will continue to monitor the spread of this virus, hospital capacity, testing rates and more as we work toward reaching the ‘improving’ phase.”
Whitmer also noted that as manufacturing companies reopen, they will need to implement measures to protect their workers from COVID-19 infection. These measures include a daily entry screening protocol, dedicated entry points into facilities and suspended non-essential entry.
Manufacturers must also educate their workers on COVID-19 — how it’s transmitted, common symptoms, how to notify their employers of COVID-19 related concerns and how to effectively use personal protective equipment.
In addition, all businesses — including manufacturing facilities — must require workers to wear masks if six feet of separation cannot be consistently maintained and should consider face shields if workers cannot consistently maintain three feet of separation.
“When we all keep doing our part, we can reduce the risk of a second wave and re-engage our economy safely and responsibly,” Whitmer said.
Daily Staff Reporter Iulia Dobrin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org