Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) extended her strict and controversial coronavirus lockdown of the state for a fifth time on Friday, continuing her unilateral dictate through June 12.
Apparently realizing her three-week extension of the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order would crush some Memorial Day plans, the governor also released a list of ways Michiganders could “enjoy” the holiday weekend while remaining in compliance with the mandates.
What are the details?
WJBK-TV reported that Whitmer extended her order on Friday evening at around 5:00 p.m., just as the Memorial Day weekend kicked off. The decision impacts “certain places of public accommodations such as theaters, gyms, and casinos.”
The outlet reported that “also on Friday, businesses in the upper peninsula and parts of the lower peninsula were allowed to reopen and operate in a limited capacity” — a decision “Republicans have pressed for weeks, despite Whitmer’s emphasis on maintaining blanket bans on business across the state.
The governor also extended the statewide State of Emergency until June 19.
Whitmer said in a statement, “While the data shows that we are making progress, we are not out of the woods yet. If we’re going to lower the chance of a second wave and continue to protect our neighbors and loves ones from the spread of this virus, we must continue to do our part by staying safer at home.”
She added, “If we open too soon, thousands more could die and our hospitals will get overwhelmed. While we finally have more protective equipment like masks, we can’t run the risk of running low again.”
As of Friday, Michigan had nearly 54,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and more than 5,150 deaths from the virus.
Around the same time as the governor’s announcement, she posted two messages on Twitter providing stay-at-home and social distancing activities compiled by her office, as suggestions for how Michiganders could spend their time over the weekend since many traditional Memorial Day activities are prohibited this year.
The first message shared a link to the state’s Pinterest account, showing “ideas for [at-home] games, crafts, grilling and more.”
In the second post, Whitmer wrote, “We know that this year’s Memorial Day weekend will look a bit different than before, but there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the holiday weekend and honor those who died in military service while keeping our communities safe.”
She included a flyer showing options for stay-at-home activities, such as getting outside, ordering takeout, or thanking “veterans by putting a homemade sign or decoration in your yard or window.” Recognizing that “this unprecedented time has been stressful for many,” the governor also suggested citizens “take some time to read a book, watch your favorite show, or try a meditation.”