Rep. Sheppard: Regional, safety-based approach is best option for reopening Michigan’s economy

Categories: News,Sheppard News

State Rep. Jason Sheppard today said he 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 today 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.

“Protecting the health of Michigan families must remain our top concern. That’s why it’s the centerpiece of our plan,” said Sheppard, of Temperance. “As the curve flattens and COVID-19 cases decline in some areas, this tiered approach will allow us to start making sensible adjustments in communities that haven’t experienced high concentrations of the virus.”

A task force – including the Chief Medical Officer, the director of the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and representatives from Gov. Whitmer’s administration, the Legislature and other 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 Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (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.

“Some of the governor’s orders have been overly restrictive and placed our economy in peril, but I realize she is in a difficult position and I do appreciate her efforts to protect Michiganians from this virus,” Sheppard said. “Moving forward, it’s time for her to stop using a one-size-fits-all approach, and start taking a regional, risk-based approach. House Republicans have a solid, well-thought-out plan, and we stand ready and willing to work with her to help our state get back to normal.”

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