What is allowed (and not allowed) in Michigan for the next 3 weeks?
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer met backlash after she issued an executive order issuing a statewide return to harsher lockdown restrictions in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 for the next 3 weeks.
- As COVID-19 infections and deaths climb nationwide, Whitmer imposed new harsher lockdown restrictions on the entire state, beginning on Wednesday and lasting until 8 December.
- The new restrictions allow for small gatherings of less than ten people, outdoor dining, and gym/salon operations at a limited capacity. They do not allow indoor dining, in-person schooling, concerts, or large gatherings.
- In announcing the lockdown restrictions, Governor Whitmer said, “the [COVID-19] situation has never been more dire. We are at a precipice and we need to take some action.”
- Governor Whitmer has been at the center of a partisan storm for most of her time in office. In October, Michigan’s State Supreme Court ruled that an Emergency Order, implemented by Whitmer without legislative approval, was unconstitutional.
- Senate Democrats expressed support for Governor Whitmer’s new executive order on Twitter.
- The new lockdowns sparked pushback from GOP lawmakers in Michigan. The Michigan Senate GOP released a statement that Whitmer “continues to go at it alone, even defying our Supreme Court.” State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey said that Whitmer is not interested in working as a team with lawmakers to find a solution to the pandemic. Several state lawmakers have called for Whitmer’s impeachment in response to the new executive order.
- Scott Atlas, one of Trump’s top coronavirus advisors, responded to the executive order on Twitter yesterday, saying, “the only way this stops is if people rise up.” Many, including Michigan Secretary of State Dana Nessel, interpreted Atlas’s comments to mean he was calling for violence. He clarified a few hours later, tweeting that he was “NEVER talking about violence. People vote, people peacefully protest. NEVER would I endorse or incite violence. NEVER!!”
- President Trump has been outspoken against lockdown restrictions imposed by Governor Whitmer in the past, notoriously tweeting “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” in April.
- Frames Whitmer as a thoughtful and righteous leader meeting unreasonable resistance from conservative lawmakers. Bloomberg and Newsweek both point out that it is important to curb COVID cases before the Thanksgiving holiday, but are likely to be met with “hostility and litigation”.
- Criticizes and plays up Scott Atlas’s comments. Business Insider, Washington Post, and CNN all frame the tweet as provocative of violence, and balk at his follow-up message stating that he meant “rise up” in the form of peaceful protest.
- Reports that it is Republicans, not Gretchen Whitmer, who are resistant to working as a team to ameliorate the pandemic. An op-ed in the Detroit Free Press says that the GOP should either “step up or step aside” in order to help their constituents.
- Criticizes Gretchen Whitmer for the executive order. Daily Caller expresses doubt that Whitmer will be able to reliably enforce the order, and points out that Michigan has had high COVID-19 infection rates under her administration.
- Reminds readers of what happened the last time she shut down businesses in the interest of curbing COVID cases. Daily Wire reports that COVID cases have surged in Michigan despite previous lockdowns, and the Washington Examiner reminds readers that another lockdown would have serious economic impact on local businesses.
- Amplifies Atlas’s clarifying comments. Fox News agrees that Michiganders should resist the COVID-19 restrictions, which are unreasonable, in a peaceful and democratic way.
© Evelyn Torsher, 2020