Legislator demands common-sense, regional-based approach to further re-opening
State Rep. James Lower, of Greenville, today reacted to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s extension of a ‘stay home’ order through May 15 in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, saying while progress is being made, more must be done to ensure livelihoods are kept intact.
Some suspended activities under the most recent directive can resume. This includes landscapers, lawn-service companies and nurseries as well as retailers selling “non-essential” items through curbside pick-up or delivery. Large box stores can reopen areas that had been cordoned off and bike repair and maintenance shops can also come back online, as long as strict social distancing measures are kept in place.
Lower had called on the governor to allow landscaping and lawn care work throughout the ‘stay home’ order, and underscored the importance of getting people back to work in some sectors where it’s safe in an effort to drive down Michigan’s soaring unemployment numbers.
“People have had their life’s work altered substantially through no fault of their own,” Lower said. “I’m pleased the governor has come to the understanding that there are some sectors where effective social distancing measures are already naturally in place. Going forward, we must also realize some areas of the state are naturally less at risk because they are less dense. A regional-based approach will get more people back to work and help get our state economy back in high gear.”
“We can do this without jeopardizing public health. This is progress, but there’s still a lot of work to be done and the governor needs to commit to a more comprehensive re-opening strategy.”
Lower also rejected the governor’s authority to extend the order, underscoring the crucial role of the Legislature in such decisions. In a Friday House session, Lower supported a resolution creating a special committee that will examine decisions made by the governor during the ongoing public health emergency in an effort to cultivate best practices.
“The Legislature is a direct conduit to people across the state and their voices deserve to be heard,” Lower said. “Instead, those voices and concerns about these ongoing orders have been met with a broad, continued use of authority. Every extension in the history of our state before this one has been done with legislative approval and oversight. Thankfully, this extension loosens some restrictions and begins to respect personal liberties as opposed to the previous version of this order.”
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