Whitmer Extends Michigan’s Partial Lockdown, Cites 'Alarmingly High' Infection Rates

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday extended a statewide partial shutdown of businesses and schools through Dec. 20.
Whitmer Extends Michigan’s Partial Lockdown, Cites 'Alarmingly High' Infection Rates
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks during a drive-in campaign rally with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama at Belle Isle in Detroit, Mich., on Oct. 31, 2020. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Isabel van Brugen

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday extended a statewide partial shutdown of businesses and schools through Dec. 20, citing “alarmingly high” infection rates of the CCP virus.

Whitmer told a press briefing that the 12-day extension will allow the health department to assess how travel during the Thanksgiving holiday impacted the transmission of COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

“We’ve made progress during this three-week pause ... but there is more work we need to do to protect one another,” she told reporters. “Our progress is fragile and we cannot let up yet.”

The statewide restrictions, that were scheduled to end at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, mandate that only 10 people and up to two households are allowed to gather indoors at a time, while up to 25 people can gather outdoors. Eat-in dining at restaurants and bars has been suspended, and high schools and colleges across the state have suspended in-person classes.

Gyms remain open for individual exercise with strict safety measures in place. Casinos, movie theaters, and group exercise classes have been closed. All business have been asked to allow employees to work from home where possible.

"Hope is on the horizon, but we need an additional 12 days to determine the full impact of the Thanksgiving holiday on our efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus," Whitmer said. "This is all about protecting our families and front-line workers until we eradicate this virus once and for all.”

State health Director Robert Gordon said he wants to see a drop in new cases, a lower rate of positive tests, and a flattening of or reduction in the number of hospital beds filled with COVID-19 patients.

The priority will be reopening high schools, then entertainment businesses where people can consistently wear masks like theaters and bowling centers, if concessions are closed.

“Let me be clear: There’s no formula. These numbers don’t capture some things that matter, like the age of people getting sick or the mix of tests being measured,” Gordon said. “You don’t ask your doctor to judge your health by a formula. You don’t judge your family’s financial well-being by one formula. Michigan lives are too important to use a faulty formula.”

The Michigan Health and Hospital Association praised Whitmer’s decision to extend the partial shutdown.

“It is still up to all Michiganders to do their part in our state’s response,” the group said in a statement Monday afternoon. “Honor health care workers this holiday season by getting your flu shot and practicing the big three preventive measures: wear a mask, avoid social gatherings, and practice proper hand hygiene. We are all in this together.”

Just weeks earlier, members of the Kalkaska County Board of Commissioners voted in favor of introducing a resolution that would call for Whitmer’s impeachment over her handling of the CCP virus pandemic.

The resolution was offered two days earlier by state Reps. Beau LaFave, Matt Maddock, and Daire Rendon, saying Whitmer should be impeached “for corrupt conduct in office and crimes and misdemeanors.”

Whitmer “has acted in conflict with her constitutional duties as governor” during the COVID-19 pandemic by issuing orders that exceed her constitutional authority, the resolution states.

The Kalkaska County Board of Commissioners voted 4-2 on the resolution, and it was sent the Michigan legislature for consideration, reported WPBN/WGTU.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.