Added restrictions fall short of addressing the needs of struggling families, businesses
State Rep. Matt Hall, R-Marshall, today said the governor moved the state in the wrong direction when she put even more restrictions on people and businesses while extending her stay-at-home order through April 30.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered that stores no longer sell what she considers non-essential items and block off those areas so customers cannot access them. The governor also said she will not follow the guidelines issued by the federal government’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) that would allow more Calhoun and Kalamazoo county families and residents across Michigan to safely return to work while following social distancing guidelines.
Hall stressed the importance for people to continue social distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19, but said rather than issuing more restrictions the governor should focus on making common-sense adjustments to allow workers who can safely do their jobs to support their families.
“Over the past few weeks I have heard from hundreds of residents across Kalamazoo and Calhoun counties who are confused, frustrated and frightened in large part due to the governor’s ambiguous executive orders which have led to thousands of layoffs and the closure of many of our area’s local, family-owned small businesses,” Hall said. “While everyone agrees that protecting the health and safety of Michigan families must be our state’s top priority, during this public health crisis I have learned from our community about many unnecessary consequences that the governor’s decisions are having on our livelihoods.
“Calhoun and Kalamazoo county families should know I hear their pleas and have relayed their questions, concerns and ideas to the governor and her administration. I am actively pressing the governor for much-needed answers and am strongly advocating for the governor to reasonably ease restrictions within her executive orders to make life a little easier for people in our communities while still adhering to CDC-recommended guidelines.”
More than 800,000 residents have filed for unemployment insurance since the COVID-19 outbreak in Michigan began, amounting to nearly 20 percent of the state’s workforce without employment. Hall said he is concerned the governor’s new restrictions that conflict with the direction of President Donald J. Trump and CISA will put even more people out of work when there are already so many problems with the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency.
“The federal government has recently issued guidelines on which occupations are deemed critical and outlined healthy practices to help get Americans back to work,” Hall said. “Meanwhile, our governor refuses to adopt them. Her refusal to work with the president is going to further jeopardize the employment of those who are blessed to still have jobs in Michigan. Our state, or our flawed unemployment system, can no longer afford the debate of which work is considered ‘essential’ and ‘non-essential.’ We need to start taking a ‘safe’ or ‘unsafe’ approach that offers more clarity and mirrors the direction of the federal government so Michigan families are not left without the answers they deserve.”
Hall recently sent a letter to the governor asking her to make common-sense adjustments that would allow limited automotive sales during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Whitmer’s latest stay-at-home order addresses Hall’s request and permits the online sale of vehicles.
“The people of Michigan rely on their vehicles to perform tasks that are necessary to their health and safety every day,” Hall said. “Limited sales of automobiles will help serve people who may unexpectedly need a new car during this challenging time, especially our first responders, health care professionals and other critical workforce employees who continue to report to work to combat COVID-19. I appreciate that the governor took my request into consideration and lifted a much-needed restriction that was creating more problems than it was solving.”
Hall said he’s concerned the governor’s updated stay-at-home order specifically prohibits stores from selling furniture, carpet or flooring, paint and outdoor plants, restrictions he feels are excessive.
“I have seen a lot of families, including my neighbors, take this time to do home renovations and other outside projects while they are stuck home,” Hall said. “Restricting home-improvement supplies at stores is taking away one of the few activities Michigan residents are engaging in to stay busy, remain positive and get their minds off COVID-19.”
Additionally, Hall urged the governor to consider modifying her orders based on region rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach.
Rep. Hall and his staff are working remotely so they can continue to serve residents during the COVID-19 outbreak. People with questions or concerns can reach his office by calling (517) 373-1787 or emailing MattHall@house.mi.gov.