Rep. Shane Hernandez of Port Huron – chair of the Michigan House Appropriations Committee – today issued a statement on Gov. Whitmer’s extended and expanded ‘stay home’ order related to COVID-19. The governor’s order places more restrictions on stores and other jobs while extending the ‘stay-at-home’ order until April 30:
“Our primary mission continues to be doing all we can to save lives and protect the health of Michigan residents and their families. The governor does not seem to understand we can continue that mission and also take steps so struggling Michigan families can stay afloat financially during this difficult time.
“We are several weeks into this crisis and still don’t have some of the critical health-related information needed to make the best decisions about where resources should go. We have not heard her plan to get Michigan back to work and lead us to brighter days. Even if the governor doesn’t believe now is the time, the people deserve to know there is a plan to restart our economy. There has been no message of hope from the governor. It’s more and more restrictions – no solutions.
“The governor’s new order will force even more people who could continue to work safely into unemployment –making it harder to feed their families, pay their bills and come out of this crisis afloat. And when they try to file for the unemployment benefits they need, they are met with a failing system – a website that doesn’t work and dropped calls, adding to the frustration.
“While extending this ‘stay home’ order, the governor missed an opportunity to follow federal guidelines that would allow more people to return to work while practicing safe habits. Other states have successfully done this and still have lower COVID-19 prevalence than Michigan. Gov. Whitmer instead moved in the opposite direction with work rules. Rather than figuring out a way to allow small, stand-alone greenhouses to operate, for example, she’s instead shutting down more operations in larger stores. When we are considering who should be allowed to work right now, we should start by looking at what is safe versus unsafe – rather than a confusing debate about what is essential or non-essential. Every job is essential when it means feeding a family and keeping a roof overhead.
“People are frustrated and fed up. They want solutions that will lessen the spread of COVID-19 and also work toward a return to some sense of normalcy. We need to help people get back on their feet now – before it’s too late. The governor needs to step up.”