Road map weighs safe versus unsafe in establishing state’s ‘new normal’
State Rep. Kathy Crawford, of Novi, today said she supports a regional, safety-focused approach to restarting Michigan’s economy and re-establishing a semblance of normalcy in the COVID-19 era.
House Republicans Monday unveiled a blueprint to help move the state toward a rolling restart – an approach based on the prevalence and risk factors of the virus, which varies by region. A task force would be established to determine which counties could have some COVID-19 restrictions eased more quickly, getting more people back to work and more facets of everyday life – when it’s safe.
“The coronavirus outbreak in Oakland County and across Michigan has been a challenging, stressful – and somewhat frustrating – time for all of us,” Crawford said. “COVID-19 has tragically impacted our communities on two fronts: our overall health and our economy. My heart absolutely breaks for the families currently grieving the loss of a loved one, coping with the challenges of unemployment, and fighting to keep their small businesses alive. While we are all hurting in some fashion, we have been given positive news that our combined efforts to adhere to social distancing and other health-safety measures have been effective.
“Data is certainly showing the case curve beginning to flatten. As case numbers continue to decline, we will all be up against a new challenge: reopening Michigan for business to return to a new normal. I, along with my House colleagues from varying regions across Michigan, have crafted a road map that outlines measured steps to reopen Michigan through a safety-based, regionalized approach. The plan involves the Legislature partnering with the governor and her administration – as well has health care and economic experts – to coordinate the next steps for Michigan residents to safely return to work over the coming weeks.”
A task force – including representatives from Gov. Whitmer’s administration, the Legislature and outside groups – would place counties into one of three tiers based on coronavirus activity and other factors such as hospitalization rates and capacity. Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties – which have the vast majority of COVID-19 cases in the state – would be in the tier with strictest restrictions. Other counties would be placed in tiers with fewer restrictions.
The same task force would help determine which jobs and activities could be resumed safely, starting from the premise of federal CISA guidelines which in some cases are not as restrictive as the prohibitions now in place in Michigan. The task force would make frequent recommendations to the governor to reflect changes in coronavirus activity.
“This plan does not affect the current executive orders issued by the governor, but serves as an invitation for bipartisan collaboration that I hope our governor seriously considers,” Crawford said. “Rather than a blanket, one-size-fits-all approach that determines which workers and business sectors are ‘essential,’ our plan would be driven by data to determine was is ‘safe’ or ‘unsafe.’ A task force would be created to identify which regions of the state could reopen sooner than others by placing counties into three different tiers based on a variety of criteria. While I understand Oakland County – along with the rest of our neighboring southeast Michigan communities – is not ready to reopen, this plan at least gives rural Michigan communities a chance to safely begin returning to normalcy. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel and our time will eventually come, but for now, Michigan counties that have the lowest prevalence and risk to COVID-19 should be able to reopen sectors of the economy more quickly. This is a great first step in giving communities across the state much-needed hope for the future.”