Whitmer extends “Stay Home” order to May 28

Manufacturing workers to resume work May 11

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MICHIGAN— In a May 7 press conference, Governor Whitmer announced an executive order extending the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order through Thursday, May 28. The previous order was set to expire May 15. This is the third extension of the order since the first one assigned March 23. 

Additionally, Whitmer signed an order allowing manufacturing workers to begin phasing back into work starting May 11.

Whitmer said 19 percent of our economy is based on manufacturing work and we already have four to five percent engaged as essential workers. 

Michigan’s auto companies will also begin phasing in work starting on May 18, but start at 25 percent capacity.

Though they can return to work, employers and employees must comply with strict safety measures. 

Work facilities must conduct daily screening protocols for workers, create dedicated entry points at every facility, suspend nonessential entrants, educate workers on the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, use personal protective equipment such as masks or face shields if six feet can not be maintained and facilities should regularly disinfect surfaces, parts and shared equipment.

Whitmer said an executive order was signed so businesses cannot retaliate if workers stay home if they are sick or someone in their household is sick or has COVID-19 symptoms.

“One worker carrying this virus can infect 20 more, who can infect 1,000 more,” said Whitmer.

Though the number of cases has started to plateau, Whitmer warns of a second wave that could occur if everything reopens too quickly. 

On April 27, Whitmer announced her MI Safe Start plan to reopen the state’s economy. Whitmer discussed the six-phase recovery plan in detail in her recent press conference. 

  • Phase 1: Uncontrolled Growth. This is the increasing number of cases everyday overwhelming our health care systems.

  • Phase 2: Consistent Spread. There is no new growth, however, numbers remain consistent.

  • Phase 3: Flattening. This is where we are now. Our healthcare is sufficient to meet current needs. Construction has reopened, manufacturing will reopen in the upcoming week, though strict safety measures will still apply. Outdoor activities are allowed with social distancing maintained. 

  • Phase 4: Improving. Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are declining. This is where Whitmer says we hope to move to next.

  • Phase 5: Containing. Outbreaks are contained and the case and death rate are on a continuous decline. 

  • Phase 6: Post Pandemic. Whitmer said this one will take a little while, but this is where we ultimately want to end. A vaccine or cure will be provided and community spread is not expected to return.

Whimer said abandoning the science and safety measures could launch Michigan into a second wave and these decisions being made are to help avoid a second outbreak.

Elements that could cause Michigan to move backwards instead of forwards would be a sustained rise in positivity rates, an increase in hospital admissions for COVID-19 illness, a reduction in hospital capacity and a significant outbreak in a region. 

“We are all safer at home, but when we do go out, we are safer when everyone practices good hygiene,” said Whitmer. This includes the three W’s: wear a mask, wait six feet apart from each other and wash hands. Masks should be worn over the nose, underneath the chin and as close to the face as possible.

Whitmer announced some positive news stating, “Pfizer announced first participants have been dosed in the U.S. in the clinical trial BNT 162 vaccine program to prevent COVID-19 infection. Initial manufacturing for the vaccine will be conducted in Michigan in their Kalamazoo facility.”

She also announced 2,700 businesses around the state were awarded nearly $10,000,000 in Michigan Small Business Relief program grants and reached businesses in all 83 counties resulting in the retention of over 11,000 jobs.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services also announced close to 90,000 low-income college students in Michigan who are enrolled in career or technical education programs are eligible to receive food assistance benefits effective this week. 

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