Republican leaders, Democratic leaders and other groups in Michigan are releasing statements after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a "3-week pause" due to rising COVID-19 cases in Michigan.
During these three weeks, which are between Nov. 18 and Dec. 8, the state said that movie theatres, high schools, in-person dining and much more will close.
The statements are below.
State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey
“The health and safety of our communities is our top priority. The Senate Republicans have been engaged in thoughtful conversations with our doctors, hospitals, and the Whitmer administration on ways to combat the spread of this insidious virus and help support our healthcare workers. While were meeting in good faith, Gov. Whitmer was working on her own strategy that did not include input from the Senate Republicans and we see the result of her plans in this latest round of restrictions.”
“The Senate Republicans still have faith in our fellow citizens and encourage them to protect themselves and others by adhering to the practices we know can help combat the spread of this insidious virus: washing hands, maintaining distance, and wearing a mask when it’s appropriate.”
“We are disappointed that Gov. Whitmer chose to go it alone, again. The Senate Republicans will continue working with our doctors and the medical community on ways we can combat this virus and are ready to work with the Governor when she decides to work as a team to fight this virus."
Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield
“The Legislature led the way with a comprehensive plan to address this crisis back in the spring, which the governor ignored. The Legislature also designed the plan that reopened schools and is still used to this day, along with a new plan introduced last month that has so far been ignored. That is on top of billions of dollars in funding, critical reforms to nursing homes policies and protections for healthcare staff, unemployed workers and small business owners. The people of Michigan deserve a seat at the table when major decisions like these are made, and those decisions are made better and safer when they do.
“As always, we stand ready to act in a bipartisan way when the governor decides it is worth her time. Until then, we are still reviewing the details of this order like everyone else.”
Michigan Republican Party Chair Laura Cox
“Yet again Governor Whitmer continues to show her contempt for the people’s elected representatives. Instead of working with our elected representatives at the state and local level, she is trying a one-size-fits-all approach that will only exacerbate the issues our state and its economy are facing. Small businesses, particularly restaurants, cannot sustain themselves through another lock-down, and these new orders will certainly spell doom for the livelihood of many. I call on Governor Whitmer to reconsider her course of action and meet with our legislators to come up with a solution that works for all Michiganders.”
Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes
"We stand with Governor Whitmer and support the steps she is taking to keep Michiganders safe. The complete inaction of the Republican controlled legislature over the last 8 months is shameful. Even more shameful is that while cases of COVID-19 are spiking and our health systems are overwhelmed, the State Senate, led by Republicans, is on a hunting break until December 1. The GOP's irresponsible, unscientific, and dangerous approach to dealing with this virus is killing Michiganders every day. We continue to stand with Governor Whitmer and will hold Republicans across Michigan accountable for their need to play political games with the health and safety of our families and loved ones."
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel
”Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel recognizes and strongly supports the need for these important measures in an effort to stem the dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases in Michigan. This virus is quickly spreading throughout our state and we must do everything we can to stop it and flatten the curve. As with past orders, county public health departments and local law enforcement are primarily responsible for enforcement in their own communities and we hope they do so. We stand ready to assist them in their efforts.”
Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter
“The measures announced by Gov. Whitmer today are difficult but vital to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. The surge of confirmed cases and hospitalizations is unsustainable and requires deliberate action now in order to protect our residents as well as health care workers and first responders who risk their lives to keep us safe. We flattened the curve in April, and we can do it again by working together and targeting activities that have fueled the rise in cases.”
Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association President & CEO Justin Winslow
"We recognize that there are no easy decisions right now and so we have an appreciation of the challenge before Director Gordon and all Michiganders as we continue our fight against COVID-19. That said, we are profoundly disappointed by his decision to shutter restaurants for a second time this year – this time with no safety net of federal stimulus dollars to soften the blow to already ailing operators and employees. While this decision will absolutely lead to a catastrophic economic fallout, the human toll on restaurant owners and their employees will be dramatically worse than what Director Gordon is attempting to mitigate through this Order based upon the department’s own transmission data.
We were hopeful that eight months into this pandemic that we could collectively recognize that there is an inherent and insatiable desire for humans to congregate, often over food. Shutting down dine-in service removes the ability to accommodate that natural human desire in a highly regulated, sanitized, capacity-limited and appropriately spaced setting in a restaurant. Instead, it will drive that behavior to innumerable residential social gatherings over the holidays, which have already proven to be super-spreader environments.
Michigan Nursing Association
“These actions are absolutely necessary to save lives. Our state is in an out-of-control crisis because too many people are not taking COVID seriously and are failing to act responsibly. Nurses and frontline health workers are at a breaking point all across the state as the spread of COVID accelerates and people, including nurses, continue to die. These changes are a small price to pay for surviving the pandemic and keeping our loved ones safe. Nurses fully support the state taking these steps as an urgent matter of protecting the health and safety of every Michigan resident. Furthermore, we urge the Legislature to collaborate with the governor on actions to help stop the spread of this deadly virus.”
Brian Peters, CEO of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association.
"The MHA and our member hospitals appreciate Governor Whitmer’s strong and swift response to the current surge in COVID-19 cases, which is stretching our hospitals and their hardworking employees thin. Community spread is rising rapidly across the state, meaning healthcare workers are being exposed and leaving hospitals with strained capacity. We urge Michiganders to comply with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services emergency order. If you want to show your thanks to our healthcare workers, take these preventive measures: don’t gather with people outside your household; arrange virtual Thanksgiving dinners; and wear a mask whenever you leave home. We know that restrictions of this nature are difficult for everyone, especially those with behavioral health conditions. We also want to urge people to get emergency care if they experience any life-threatening symptoms or injuries; don’t delay care that can save your life. The faster we can squash this surge, the faster we can safely resume our lives and livelihoods. Hospitals are asking for all of Michigan to unite against COVID-19."