Whitmer extends stay-home order, emergency declaration to mid-June

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gives an update on COVID-19 | Gov. Whitmer office photo

Fresh off a win in court, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a slew of executive orders Friday evening extending Michigan’s stay-home order and more.

The stay-home measure will now continue an additional two weeks through June 12. The temporary closure of certain places of public accommodation such as theaters, gyms, and casinos has also been extended.

“We must move with care, patience, and vigilance, recognizing the grave harm that this virus continues to inflict on our state and how quickly our progress in suppressing it can be undone,” executive order (EO) 2020-100 reads.

Accompanying that order are further extensions of Whitmer’s state of emergency and state of disaster declarations, which are now set to expire on June 19.

Judge: Whitmer has authority for emergency orders, calls GOP arguments ‘meritless’

On Thursday, a Court of Claims judge ruled in favor of Whitmer being able to extend those emergency declarations without legislative approval. The lawsuit had been brought against her by the GOP-led state Legislature. Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) said they plan to appeal, and the case will likely end up before the Michigan Supreme Court.

EO 2020-100 also clarifies and in parts extends the duration of several previous executive orders, including worker protections for those with close contacts who are ill, reconnection of water service to residents whose water has been shut off due to non-payment and non-discrimination policies in COVID-19 care.

“While the data shows that we are making progress, we are not out of the woods yet. If we’re going to lower the chance of a second wave and continue to protect our neighbors and loved ones from the spread of this virus, we must continue to do our part by staying safer at home,” Whitmer said in a statement. “If we open too soon, thousands more could die and our hospitals will get overwhelmed.”

Whitmer also signed executive orders extending the validity of watercraft registrations that expired after Feb. 1, allowing local governments to use alternative means to send out hearing notifications and suspending certain gasoline regulations to ensure adequate fuel supplies.

Additionally, in response to the ongoing flood devastation caused by the breach of at least two Midland-area dams on Tuesday, Whitmer also expanded her previous state of emergency declaration for Midland County to also include Arenac, Gladwin and Saginaw counties.