Whitmer extends COVID-19 State of Emergency in Michigan through Oct. 27

Whitmer, Gretchen
Photo credit Gov. Gretchen Whitmer holds a news conference (Photo: State Michigan)
By WWJ Newsradio 950

(WWJ) Right on cue, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has again extended her emergency and disaster declaration for Michigan due to COVID-19. 

Executive Order 2020-186, signed by the governor on Tuesday, extends Michigan's State of Emergency until October 27, 2020, at 11:59 p.m., allowing Whitmer to continue using executive powers granted under Michigan law only in an emergency.  

READ: Executive Order 2020-186

The governor's office said the action will "help save lives and protect the health and safety of Michiganders," by allowing the state to continue to mobilize resources and take the reasonable and necessary steps to protect Michiganders and their families. 

As Whitmer has extended the emergency multiple times, and the coronavirus remains a concern in Michigan, this latest extension did not comes as a surprise. Her previrous order was just about to expire before midnight on Oct. 1. The State of Emergency order shouldn't be confused with the stay-at-home order, which was lifted back in June. 

Also Tuesday, the governor took action to extended four other executive orders "to protect Michigan families and our most vulnerable populations." 

“We have saved thousands of lives in our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, especially among our most vulnerable populations – people of color, seniors, and people with disabilities. Because we took swift action, the health of our families and our economy are faring better than our neighbors in other states,” said Governor Whitmer. “This emergency will end, and it is a matter of months. But we are not out of the woods yet. Right now, the federal government and all 50 states have been under some form of state of emergency. We must continue doing our part to fight this virus on behalf of our families, frontline workers, and our small businesses.”  

The health, economic, and social harms of the COVID-19 pandemic remain widespread and severe, according to Whitmer, and they continue to constitute a statewide emergency and disaster. Though local health departments have some limited capacity to respond to cases as they arise within their jurisdictions, Whitmer maintains that state emergency operations are necessary to bring this pandemic under control in Michigan and to build and maintain infrastructure to stop the spread of COVID-19, trace infections, and to quickly direct additional resources to hot-spots as they emerge. 

“The Governor’s swift actions have saved thousands of lives during this pandemic, and she must be able to continue taking swift action to save lives,” said Chief Medical Executive and MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “As we approach the 2020-2021 flu season, it is vitally important that all Michiganders get their flu vaccine, wear a mask, and maintain physical distancing. We will get through this together.” 

Where Michigan was once among the states most heavily hit by COVID-19, the state's per-capita rate of new daily cases has plateaued at a level well below the national average. Despite gradually reopening our economy, Michigan’s seven-day case positivity rate has remained between 3.0% and 3.7% since early July. Over the same time period, case growth has also remained within a narrow band of 61 to 71 daily new cases per million population, by date of symptom onset.  

Whitmer's office said she has has taken "deliberate and steady action" to reopen sectors of Michigan’s economy in a way that protects businesses, employees, and patrons. CNN Business currently ranks Michigan in the top ten – in ninth place - on their list of states that are getting our economies back on track. 

The four other executive orders the governor signed today include: 

  • Executive Order 2020-187 which protects vulnerable populations and strengthens our economic recovery by extending through October 31 the governor’s previous order allowing business to be conducted remotely through expanded use of e-notaries and e-signatures.   
  • Executive Order 2020-188 which extends the limited and temporary restrictions on the entry of individuals into health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, and juvenile justice facilities. The Department of Health and Human Services will continue to issue orders to specify exceptions to this order. 
  • Executive Order 2020-189 which extends through October 31 protections for prison and jail populations through enhanced cleaning protocols and implementation of testing protocols by Michigan Department of Corrections prisons and any jails that transfer inmates to MDOC prisons. 
  • Executive Order 2020-190 which adds protections for workers and customers at food-selling establishments to the Workplace Safeguards order, including the requirement to maintain two hours a week of reserved shopping time for vulnerable populations. 

“On behalf of the sheriffs, I am thankful that the governor worked with us to streamline the jails & prisons EO, and we look forward to continuing to work together for the safety and well-being of all Michigan citizens,” said Matthew Saxton, CEO and Executive Director of the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association. 

“We are grateful for the governor’s dedication to fighting COVID-19 and her ongoing work to protect Michigan workers and their families,” said Andrea Acevedo, President of SEIU Healthcare Michigan. “There is no doubt that the governor’s swift action has saved thousands of lives, particularly for our most vulnerable populations and health workers like ours who are serving on the front lines. We will continue to work closely with Governor Whitmer to ensure the health and safety of our members, their families, and those they serve.”