Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced on Friday that she would be extending the lockdown orders until May 15 with a few caveats regarding the restoration of certain rights to state residents.
She unveiled her new executive order during a press conference in which she announced she would be allowing so-called “non-essential” occupations such as landscaping to resume.
“The new executive order will allow some workers who perform lower-risk activities to go back on the job,” Whitmer said on Friday morning. Golfing and boating may resume in certain instances, and people can now travel between homes on their own volition.
“We will consider this the preliminary stage of economic re-engagement. We will measure, we will collect data, we will continue to ramp up testing and tracing and we will make informed decisions in coming days about potential further re-engagement,” she continued.
While Whitmer may have conceded on certain points, her opponents are not appeased. Republican lawmakers are speaking out, although they are not bold enough to firmly say no to her emergency declaration.
“They’re being told that they can’t work a job and take care of their family. And, Michigan is an outlier with how we’re handling the COVID-19 pandemic. And, we believe here in Michigan — as Republicans — you can take COVID-19 seriously yet be more reasonable in your restrictions and how you’re dealing with it. And, that’s what we’re calling on the governor to do and we don’t feel we’ve had that reasonableness up to this point,” House Speaker Lee Chatfield told “Fox & Friends Weekend” in an interview.
“You know, I think there’s a false narrative that’s out there right now, right?” Chatfield added. “I think there [are] people saying that you have to choose either the economy or you to choose public health or you have to choose constitutional rights. And, I say that’s a false narrative. We can choose all three. We can prioritize the public health while still being reasonable, protecting constitutional rights, and ensuring that people can have their livelihoods back.”
Chatfield and his Republican allies in the House are working to enact a legislative oversight committee related to Whitmer’s coronavirus response and her emergency measures. However, it is unclear if this committee would have any real power to stop Whitmer from exerting power and keeping Michigan locked down.
The nascent protest movement is not happy with Whitmer’s half-measures or the response from Republican lawmakers. They feel that her new executive order does not go far enough in restoring normalcy, and others think she is acting unilaterally by usurping the power of the legislature.
“They just make it up as they go. The Law has been thrown out the window,” wrote attorney Nicholas Somberg in a Facebook post. He helped to organize Thursday’s rally outside of the governor’s taxpayer-funded mansion in Lansing.
Meshawn Maddock, a Michigan Conservative Coalition activist who organized the “Operation Gridlock” rally that resulted in thousands of cars convening in Lansing, bemoaned the unclear and confusing language used by the governor.
Maddock wrote on her Facebook profile: “Feeling very harsh feelings right now. Do we need to light something on fire? Flip a few cars? This feels like PUNISHMENT. So which is it?! “Requires” or “Strongly Encouraged?”’
Her comments were in response to Whitmer’s messaging on social media versus what was said in an emergency message sent to everyone in Michigan through their television sets and cellular phones:
The next protest is scheduled to take place on Thursday, April 30 at the Capitol building in Lansing. Some protesters are planning to show up as early as 9 am to express their disdain for Whitmer, and it could be the largest display yet with anger reaching a fever pitch due to the elongated shutdown.