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Governor Whitmer hosts virtual town hall to answer COVID-19 related questions

Posted at 6:07 AM, May 01, 2020

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer hosted a virtual town hall meeting to answer questions from the public related to the coronavirus pandemic.

There were a wide variety of questions asked during the virtual meeting, ranging from auto plant changes to when we can expect to see and play sports again.

When asked about the possible changes there will be for auto plants to practice social distancing, Governor Whitmer said, "I've been having regular conversations with Rory Gamble, the president of UAW, and they've been working closely to make sure they've got protocols to keep people safe when they return to work whether it is implementing Plexiglas dividers, not having big shift changes, or having one third of the workforce. I believe the Big 3 have a lot of great protocols."

People are concerned whether it is safe to start reopening and some wonder what that timeline looks like. However, it seems there is no timeline according to Governor Whitmer. "What we know at this point is we are comfortable turning that dial and re-engaging our construction industry," said Governor Whitmer, "There will be additional industries that will come online in the coming days, but we are watching these numbers."

The Governor gave a similar answer when it comes to sports. "I suggest we be patient," said Governor Whitmer. "We recognize these activities are important but we still need to have that social distancing. That timeline will be determined on how well everyone continues to do their part so we see those numbers go down, then we can talk about safely engaging in sports again." The same goes for weddings and family gatherings as well.

For some time hospitals were not scheduling elective surgeries. However, on Thursday, the Governor says that if someone wanted to schedule an elective surgery, now is the time to do so. In fact, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun says anyone thinking they are having a medical emergency shouldn't delay seeking care.

Another hot topic discussed during Thursday nights virtual town hall was about how the state is working to improve the unemployment system after several issues have come up. Governor Whitmer says she's working to address those problems and won't stop until everyone has been helped.

"There's tens of thousands of people who yet need the help we are redoubling - redouble we've quintupled the number of people that are working at the unemployment on the front lines we will not rest until everyone gets the support to which they are entitled," said Governor Whitmer.

Earlier this month, Governor Whitmer signed an executive order prohibiting travel from different residencies as well as camping. Now the governor says it is okay to travel between residencies, but camping is still prohibited. When asked what is different, Governor Whitmer said, "When people camp, they often use the same facilities. When people are together in close quarters they are not able to practice social distancing as well."

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