“I’m going to lead by example,” she said. “I know that times are tough and that we as a state are going to be confronting a tough budget as a result of the economic shutdown.”
Whitmer’s pay cut announcement comes after thousands of people took to the streets in Michigan’s capital city of Lansing last week to protest against the stay-at-home order currently in place across the state. Whitmer originally issued the Stay Home, Stay Safe initiative on March 23 and has since extended it to the end of April.
Addressing the stay at home order at Monday’s press conference, Whitmer said she has “had to make some tough choices, closing our kid’s schools, closing bars and directing restaurants to do carry-outs only; banning public gatherings and issuing the stay at home order,” and that those choices “weigh heavily on me.”
However, the governor said she was “absolutely confident as I listen to our best medical minds that these are the right decisions right now to protect lives. It’s been aggressive but they’re working, and we’re seeing that.”
Speaking of the recent protests, Whitmer said that while she respects “the first amendment and the right to speak your truth and criticize your government,” it is not okay to do so in “a way that is irresponsible and endangers others,” before reminding Michigan residents who “feel their rights are being infringed” that the actions the state has taken amid the crisis are “limited action for a limited amount of time to save people’s lives.”
Whitmer said the next ten days will determine what will happen regarding the stay at home order on April 30 but noted that the state will not “just resume life like it was pre-COVID-19,” and that “it will take phases and it’s going to be slow but it will be data-driven, mitigating risk and making sure that it’s safe for workers and customers of businesses that do ramp up all those protections will be in there.”