GOP leader: No mask mandates, Michigan needs to learn to live with coronavirus

"Freedom is messy," says Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, indicating the GOP-controlled Legislature is unlikely to back major COVID-19 restrictions following a Supreme Court ruling limiting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's power. (Bridge file photo)

Oct. 21: Michigan business leaders urge Whitmer and Republicans to unite on COVID
Update: Health experts to Shirkey: COVID herd immunity would kill 30K in Michigan

LANSING — Michigan’s Republican-led Legislature will work with Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to continue some COVID-19 safeguards, but mask mandates and business regulations are likely on the chopping block following a state Supreme Court ruling that upended Whitmer’s emergency power, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey said Saturday. 

Shirkey and other Senate Republicans met by Zoom early Saturday as they and their legal counsel assessed the impact of the late Friday ruling that found unconstitutional a 1945 law Whitmer has used to repeatedly extend a state of emergency without legislative approval. 

Shirkey told Bridge he expects a federal court could act on the decision and begin to invalidate Whitmer executive orders as soon as next week. The governor has claimed that cannot happen for at least 21 days under Supreme Court rules. 

"Technically, the executive orders are still in place, [but] I don't know that anybody's going to enforce them,” Shirkey said. “If you're a gambling man, if you're talking handicapping, it's likely that most of them, if not all, will be terminated."

Friday’s ruling, which came in response to questions from a federal judge, capped months of verbal and legal jousting over the governor’s executive authority, which GOP lawmakers challenged in a separate case that remains before the Michigan Supreme Court. 

Because Whitmer no longer has legal authority to extend a state of emergency unilaterally, Republicans contend she will now have to work with them to craft bipartisan policies to address the ongoing pandemic. But they’ll likely begin the process far apart. 

Shirkey, who said he’s reached out to Whitmer to try and set up a meeting for next week, told Bridge he thinks it’s time to stop treating COVID-19 like a public health emergency. The virus has infected more than 126,000 state residents and killed nearly 6,800, but its rate of growth has slowed in much of the state.

"We need to now transition from a public health emergency to managing and learning to live with this virus," he said. "I think we can do that without being under a state of emergency, and that's my strong, strong feelings."

Whitmer has given no indication she plans to work with the Legislature on the state’s COVID-19 response. In a Friday night statement, she claimed the ruling does not take effect for at least 21 days, an apparent reference to Supreme Court rules that give parties three weeks to file a motion for reconsideration, which are typically rejected summarily. 

Related: 

After that, the governor said, “many of the responsive measures I have put in place to control the spread of the virus will continue under alternative sources of authority that were not at issue in today’s ruling.”

Whitmer did not elaborate, but legal experts say Michigan’s public health code also gives Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon authority to respond to epidemics, including the ability to “prohibit the gathering of people for any purpose and … establish procedures …  to ensure continuation of essential public health services and enforcement of health laws.”

Gordon has issued 19 epidemic orders since March, some of which reinforce Whitmer’s executive orders, including her mask mandate, workplace safety rules and “safe start” plan that outlines her overall regulatory response to COVID-19.

Shirkey said the Senate GOP legal counsel was reviewing those orders as of Saturday morning, but "I don't think they have the same latitude as what the governor was exercising under executive orders," he told Bridge. 

"I was a little disappointed that that was the default" response from the governor, as opposed to a pledge to work with the Legislature, Shirkey said. "The Supreme Court really affirmed that balance of powers means balance of powers."

Asked if Whitmer planned to meet with GOP leaders next week, spokesperson Tiffany Brown said Saturday morning that the governor’s office was still “reviewing the decision and what it means for next steps, so no definite updates to share just yet.”

No ‘appetite’ for mask mandate

Shirkey, however, is operating under the assumption the Legislature will be in for a heavy lift this fall. While the Senate is scheduled to meet only eight times across October and November, the majority leader said he’s already told members to “re-evaluate their calendars for the rest of the year” and be prepared for some “short-notice session days.”

For lawmakers, "the next step is for us to go through all the nearly 200 executive orders” that Whitmer has issued since March and “prioritize those” that may warrant codification, Shirkey said. Senate Republicans are interested in working with the governor to continue temporary unemployment insurance expansions, he told Bridge. 

"People would want [some of the executive orders] to go away, maybe even a majority of them, but there are some like the unemployment insurance that deserves the full legislative process attention,” Shirkey said. 

If the health department’s order does not stand up, Republicans are unlikely to extend Whitmer’s mask mandate, which requires most Michiganders to wear face masks at indoor public spaces and outdoors when they can’t socially distance. 

Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has called masks “the most important powerful public health tool we have” we have to fight COVID-19. 

Shirkey is encouraging the public to wear masks, socially distance and wash hands, but noted he doubts there’s “any appetite” among Republicans for a mandate.

“We’re moving now from an era or a time when the focus was on mandating, dictating and frankly in some cases threatening, to more of an informing and inspiring and encouraging and loving and trusting people to do the right thing” approach, he said.

Shirkey said Republicans are also likely to scrutinize worker and workplace safety rules imposed by Whitmer, who is currently requiring companies to conduct employee health screenings each day, provide personal protection equipment and limit indoor capacity at restaurants, among other things. 

Businesses "have no interest in putting their clients or their customers or their employees or their families at risk, and they'll now have the ability to make those kinds of judgements," Shirkey said. 

"Freedom is messy," Shirkey said. "And I think for the most part, people do make the right decisions. You can never, ever, ever pass enough laws... to prevent people from making bad decisions. That's not the country that we love and embrace."

Can GOP work with Whitmer?

One challenge for Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, could be to build a cooperative relationship with Whitmer after suing her, backing a petition drive to repeal her powers, lambasting her for imposing requirements on business and simultaneously accusing her of not doing enough to protect nursing home residents. 

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Stephen Markman, writing for the 4-3 majority on Friday, made clear he hopes that will happen. 

"Our decision leaves open many avenues for the Governor and Legislature to work together to address this challenge and we hope that this will take place," he wrote after declaring that “ the executive orders issued by the Governor in response to the COVID-19 pandemic now lack any basis under Michigan law."

Chatfield, in a Saturday morning statement, said he is “eager to partner with the administration to chart the state’s path forward.”

Whitmer and GOP leaders have managed to work past their differences before, and recently: In August, they struck a deal on a school restart plan, and last month they finalized a $62.8 billion state budget that both sides hailed as a major bipartisan achievement.

Those negotiations are  "Exhibit A for what we can accomplish together when everybody is at the table in an equal partnership," Shirkey said. 

But he acknowledged the process could be challenging: "It's always easy to be the opposition party," he said. "Governing is the hardest part to do. Now we have a serious responsibility. [Lawmakers are] looking forward to engaging and exercising the full breadth and robustness of the legislative process so that we're making good decisions together."

Republican President Donald Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis and Friday night hospitalization is a reminder that "nobody is immune" from the coronavirus, Shirkey said, but it does not change his belief that it is time to reassess Michigan’s response. 

"Frankly, I was surprised that it took this long because in the job he has, and the number of people that he has to interact with, even if you're practicing the ultimate safety precautions, his exposure and his risk factors are high,” he said of Trump. 

The Clarklake Republican challenged what he called a "lingering notion that we could, by restricting everything, basically ignore the fact that the COVID exists and delay everything for perpetuity. The virus ultimately was going to win, it was just going to take a longer time."

At least five Michigan lawmakers, including one who died, and two staffers have contracted the coronavirus since March -- perhaps more since the Republican leadership in the state House has not disclosed total case counts. 

Democrats are calling for new workplace safety precautions at the Michigan Capitol, but a mask mandate is not going to happen in the Senate, Shirkey said, noting lawmakers are encouraged to wear a face mask in the upper chamber and often do. 

"It's just not practical, and frankly it's against the Constitution, to deny a duly elected senator access to the Senate floor" because they won't wear a mask, Shirkey said. 

"Our compliance has improved over time, and this gives us an opportunity now to set the example and demonstrate that we're serious about that."

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Comments

Susan Pearlman
Sat, 10/03/2020 - 4:24pm

Wear a mask IS learning to live with it.

Keith
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 8:07am

Respecting those who do not want to wear a mask is also part of learning to live with it.

Anonymous
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 3:35pm

Not unless all world scientists feel it is unsafe....then you are playing with death. Good luck and why not consider ALL lives that have to live with it, even the sick...

Kaie
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 3:40pm

Your fearless leader, Trump, is in the hospital because he didn’t wear a mask. That should give you some inclination to wear one.

SRB
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 4:46pm

It shouldn't be, because people who do not want to wear a mask are endangering other people. If you don't want to wear a mask, stay home.

I call BS!
Sun, 10/11/2020 - 6:32pm

SRB, That's like saying if you don't like when people fart, stay home. You should just stay home if you can't control your gas.

Ben
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 6:29pm

When you come into my business and I ask you to wear a mask, that should be respected as well. An you as the customer can decide if you want to stay and wear a mask or go spend your money elsewhere.

Brandon
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 7:21pm

Unfortunately, for the comfortable masks to work, it's all or none. Remember, the mask only protects others from YOU. When you don't wear one and everyone else does, it's like eating all the food at a potluck but bringing nothing.
I wear a mask. If I stop seeing others do it, I'll wear an N95 since that protects me.

Jeff
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 7:53pm

I would agree with you if your decision not to wear a mask put you and only you in danger. Instead it puts people other than you in danger. I can't respect that decision and I doubt many others would either. Apparently "Love thy neighbor" has its limits for you.

Bren
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 8:14pm

If you don’t want to wear a mask, I guess that’s fine if you want to not worry about your own health, and your family, but no one in the state has the right to infect other people because of their own reckless behavior. That’s just common sense,

Paul Jordan
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 9:58pm

Wearing a mask IS respectful of others! Refusing to wear a mask is disrespectful of others--it is as simple as that.

LMAO
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 6:27am

Let me guess, you voted for Trump who thinks like you?

Anonymous
Tue, 10/06/2020 - 3:33am

The guy who tested positive, possibly running around with pneumonia, tweeting, saluting, and running everything while on hallucinogenic steroid drugs?

Polly
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 8:47am

So, under your logic, we should respect those who wish to drive drunk? Makes sense...

Bob Dunn
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 9:09am

So those that want to infect other people with the virus are ok. I wonder how many more Michiganders will die because of this ruling and attitude. For me, it certainly will mean I will not be going to establishments that don't enforce masks. We will have to post places that are not mandating people wear masks.

Lynne
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 9:17am

Your mask protects us not you! Show you care about your fellow citizens please.

George Hagenauer
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 9:21am

Except for the fact that not wearing a mask increases the local viral load inside businesses with the result that some people will get sick, become disabled or die. I expect more buying on line and less buying at stores or going to restaurants as restrictions end and the significant number of people either at risk due to age or health issues or who regularly deal with family members in that category increasingly drop out of the economy. As a senior citizen I take it for granted that non-mask wearers want me dead.

Elsie Anne
Tue, 10/06/2020 - 2:12am

Well said. I'm in the same position: senior citizen, and in my case also stuck with a faulty immune system. If I get COVID, I'm at high risk of dying from it. And if I infect my husband, he also is at high risk. I've been happy about the mask mandate because it allowed me to buy groceries without such great risk, but even with the mask mandate, risky behavior is out there. I don't frequent bars, but one of our local taverns has pretty good takeout dinners. so I placed an order online last week and paid for it online, but still had to walk in to pick it up. The place was crammed with unmasked people and the waitresses were so busy that I had to wait several minutes for someone to hand me my dinners. I will not be ordering from them again unless they are willing to bring my dinners out to the car. If the crazy drunks want to endanger their own health, that's their choice, but I'm not going to give them a second chance to endanger mine.

Saddie T
Tue, 10/06/2020 - 4:51pm

Think about all the employees that will lose their jobs when there is another outbreak. These people against masks are so selfish. Can't imagine how they were raised. They seem to be sociopaths, incapable of empathy. Most of my relatives and friends sadly are Trump supporters, but not one of them goes around without masks or makes fun of masks. What gives? Who are these crazy extremists?

Don't Enable Crazies
Sun, 10/11/2020 - 6:39pm

The extremists are a small group of loudmouths with Trump Derangement Syndrome and guns, the crackpots that go online and plot with their mentally ill online buddies, the people that were thankfully just arrested. Unbelievable some of these lunatics were in the Capitol with guns intimidating our duly elected representatives who were conducting official business on our behalf. Shame on the Republicans that won't stop this nonsense. You can't bring firearms on an airplane or into a court house. Why are they okay in the Capitol?

mw
Tue, 10/06/2020 - 8:59am

With a mask mandate and occupancy restrictions, I felt a lot more comfortable going into stores and restaurants. After the Supreme Court ruling, there were so many people shopping without masks. One business owner even came up to me and said: "Did you hear, you no longer have to wear a mask! Isn't it wonderful?" No it's not wonderful. I know I'm not alone in this but I don't plan on visiting any stores that don't require masks and I will be doing a lot more online shopping instead of taking the risk of being out with careless people shouting about their "freedumbs."

Cathy
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 10:09am

The True Meaning of Respect. Respect is an assumption of good faith and competence in another person or in the whole of oneself. Depth of integrity, trust, complementary moral values, and skill are necessary components. You don't respect when it only goes one way, yours. A disregard for another's health is not respect. We follow medical guidance when it relates to AIDS, etc. as we know it would endanger others.

Don
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 10:16am

Yep You are right WE do need to respect the soon to be dead republican voters!!!

Qwen Rice
Tue, 10/06/2020 - 4:53pm

Just hope my family, friends, employees don't die because of them.

Rick
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 12:09pm

'Respect those who wish to harm everyone else because they prefer to ignore science, common sense and science'.
Got it. Just follow your president to COVID - but you won't get the care he gets. And you won't be voting after death.

Cathy
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 10:00am

The GOP has delivered another reason to vote them out. Oh I love history. A lesser known fact, George Washington's bold decision to vaccinate the entire Continental Army against smallpox. It was the first mass inoculation in military history, and was vital to ensuring an American victory in the War of Independence.
Congress shall have power to . . provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States.

Michelle L Graham
Sat, 10/03/2020 - 4:28pm

WOW!!! Again they don't want to believe the science! In order to get to herd immunity we would have to have 70% of the population get Covid.

JJ
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 6:52am

Michelle L Graham, I wonder what Ronna Romney McDaniels thinks about that. Bridge should interview her since she's staying in Michigan while she deals with her Trump Flu.

mw
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 9:07am

Given the current death rate for COVID and the fact there still is no treatment or vaccine, that means the GOP is okay with a significant increase in the number of deaths and long-term health problems of Michiganders. For what? Do they think if we completely open up that the economy will immediately rebound? Look at what is going on in Wisconsin if you want to see what is about to happen here.

Luke
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 9:28am

False. Almost half the population is already not susceptible due to latent immunity. Herd immunity threshold has empirically proven to be around 20% everywhere.

Carl Froman
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 2:28pm

So you have proof that if you have it, you have anitbodies that last longer than 45 days, which is the length of time this vaccine would have data for? Love your random stats tho. Sound like POTUS.

Ronny
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 2:51pm

That might be possible, but you don't know that as a fact. Where is your evidence?

Sue
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 5:28pm

No such thing as latent immunity to Covid-19. Read research before posting.

JWK
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 7:24pm

Let's see how herd immunity has worked out for the common cold (another coronavirus). That works really well, right? No ever gets colds these days, right?
Herd immunity worked really well for small pox, polio, measles, mumps, flu, plague.... Oh wait, after centuries herd immunity never naturally developed. It only happens if you have a vaccine...

The idea of herd immunity without a vaccine is false. There is zero evidence to support the idea. Just think about the last time you got a cold....

Gabe
Sat, 10/03/2020 - 4:37pm

Ghouls, everyone in the the GOP would rather us Die before working to make the state better.

Common Sense
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 11:54am

@Gabe So wear a mask if you feel so strongly about it. Nobody is mandating a "no mask" policy. The GOP is suggesting a "common sense" policy. Name-calling the GOP doesn't fix the problem. Working together dies.

Polly
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 8:49am

Oh, okay. So, let's not have driving laws. We'll all just go whatever speed we want. If you want to drive the speed limit that's fine, but as for me and my family, we'll drive whatever speed we want! If you don't like it, stay home. *eye roll*

John
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 8:53am

"Common sense" is for everybody to wear a mask whenever they are in public. That is the only way we are going to get this under control. People who flaunt their "personal right" not to wear a mask are endangering all of us and prolonging the epidemic. People are dying because of this. Forgive me for being blunt, but this business about "freedom" and "rights" is endangering all of us. I thought Republican conservatives were supposed to be "pro-life." Start acting that way!

Anne b
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 9:50am

So do you wear a shirt, shoes, and pants or shorts in a store? Do you wear a seatbelt and follow traffic laws? Do you run down the street throwing homemade bombs at people? In general do you follow other laws? Yes? Then why is it SO HARD to put a piece of freaking cloth on your face to help reduce the spread of COVID in a society? The terms "GOP" and "common sense" don't go together, and many of them don't believe in COVID anyway. So until Americans can work together and put poltics aside for once, DURING A FREAKING PANDEMIC, we do need mandates/laws to make us all safer because many Americans, including many GOP leaders, are ignorant of basic science and cry about 'freedom' whenever a leader from another party is calling the shots. They seem to emulate the top leader the most, the one in the WH - I mean, the one at Walter Reed, who is being treated for a virus he thinks is a hoax.....

Cathy
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 10:04am

I mean it's not like there's a law that says the government can force you to do something you don't want to do like pay taxes or die in a war.
Where do you go when your ill? To a physician who has studied science and medicine.

Don
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 10:18am

I believe the republicans are trying to pass a bill to out law Masks>>>>
Seems that they may be getting paid by russia to kill off Americans !!!

Leeloo
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 6:28pm

Masks are illegal already, at least in the sense of the gvts power to make you wear anything

Anonymous
Tue, 10/06/2020 - 3:40am

Then why are people forced to wear clothing?

Trevieze
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 11:17am

What a tiny communist. Where was your outrage in 2009 when the swine flu was killing people? Oh, that's right, Bathtub Berry was president.

mw
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 2:34pm

Ignoring the fact that COVID-19 has a higher infection rate and death rate than H1N1, the Federal government took swift action to contain the spread of Swine Flu in 2009 by listening to the experts which limited the death toll in the US to 12,500.

LOL
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 2:54pm

Bathtub Berry(?) never got COVID-19 or Swine Flu. You just can't handle the fact that your are following a false Profit (pun intended).

LMAO
Tue, 10/06/2020 - 5:03pm

You forgot to mention the false Profit, Trumpolini, also tested positive for COVID19. Worst president in the history of the USA. Shirkey and Chatfield are hooking up their reputation wagons to that hot mess on steroids! Reminds me of the famous Britney Spears meltdown unfolding before our eyes. Intervention please, someone who loves America! Who can call for 25th Amendment?

Carolyn
Sat, 10/03/2020 - 5:30pm

I am so ready for gerrymandering to be done.

Andrew
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 11:20am

It’s not going to be done. It will just be done by a different method.

Yee Ha
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 2:56pm

As long as the majority is represented, I'll be happy. Tired of corrupt politicians who sell us out to foreign governments and multinational corporations.

mw
Tue, 10/06/2020 - 9:02am

Gerrymandering is only one piece of the pie. The next big hurdle is getting Ranked Choice voting in Michigan so a vote for a third party is no longer a wasted vote.

Carolyn
Sun, 10/11/2020 - 12:54am

I agree!

Dena Arner
Sat, 10/03/2020 - 5:32pm

Where is this attitude that "freedom is messy" and we have to trust people to make good decisions for themselves and their families when they talk about abortion ?

Le Roy G. Barnett
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 8:50am

When things started going sideways in the second American invasion of Iraq, Secretary of Defense Donal Rumsfeld explained that "Freedom can be messy." The Republicans ruined Iraq as a result of this adventure, and they are now working their "magic" on Michigan and our country.

Not buying snakeoil
Tue, 10/06/2020 - 5:10pm

Trump will leave office with America looking like Iraq.

Danielle
Sat, 10/03/2020 - 5:41pm

Without far reaching policies that enforce complience of safety standards, we are going to have less services available, inevitably more shut downs, more costs, and unnecessary deaths. The Governer was taking measured steps that have been saving lives, turning Michigan from a worst case to a success story and working very successfully in transitioning to "live with this virus." There is very little to indicate that the current Michigan legislature can work from a standpoint of true public good and with the speed and flexibility necessary in this situation. I truly hope that our representatives to whom we have entrusted so much will prove me wrong, and I challenge them to do so. We saw what happened in Wisconsin when their Governor's Executive Orders were overruled by their state Supreme Court.

Janis
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 11:01am

I agree Danielle! I think some Michiganders showed how irresponsible they already have chosen to be! Since we started opening with restrictions the cases have steadily risen and I foresee a steep rise in our future.
Very sad that just because of politics people are willing to put other people in harms way.

Rebecca
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 4:44pm

This means that we will not be frequenting Michigan businesses where people are not wearing masks! Back to shopping through Amazon!

Jay
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 9:10pm

Yes, cases did rise after we opened back up...and so did the number of people being tested...you can literally go on the state website and see the correlation. Hospitalizations and deaths did not follow that trend though...proving that increased cases wasn't and aren't resulting in more death. Part of living in a free state and a free country is allowing people to be irresponsible and to make mistakes. In a representative democracy the role of the government is not to be a nanny..it's to protect peoples rights and for all representatives to advocate for the things their direct constituents want..that is what republicans are doing. If you want to live in a direct democracy where the 51% majority mob rules over the 49% minority there's plenty of other countries in the world that can offer you that. Freedom isn't free, and sometimes bad things happen. That doesn't give a governor the right to rule by executive order without approval from the legislature. There are 3 branches of government for a reason..and it's to limit any one of them from attaining too much power.

While I believe Whitmer has acted and done what she honestly believed needed to be done...she can't just rule over the entire state like a dictator and ignore the legislature when they rightfully try to check her power.

I call BS
Tue, 10/06/2020 - 3:48am

Jay, so how do you explain the president testing positive and all the positive people associated with him? Too much testing? You don't think Chris Chistie and all the other sycophants are rightly worried to death now? Trump is out of control, disregards the legislature and puts the governors in charge. Then when the governors take control and do a great job, people like you complain. Looking at these comments, your views are clearly in the reckless minority.

mw
Tue, 10/06/2020 - 9:09am

"Part of living in a free state and a free country is allowing people to be irresponsible and to make mistakes."

Which is why we shouldn't have drinking and driving or any traffic laws in this state. We should just allow people be irresponsible and make mistakes, right?

Anne B
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 10:11am

Sad but true, Danielle. I live right across the border in the UP from Northeastern WI by Marinette, and MI was working a lot harder to prevent COVID spread than WI due to the WI GOP-controlled SC and the hatred that WI GOP has for Gov. Evers. No travel restrictions, no common sense, people coming 'up north' to get away from hotspots down south, no reciprocal measures of lockdown....it's really sad that our country is so messed up that we can't work together to end this pandemic in our country more quickly by all working together. Because, you know, our freedumb and 'Merica'..../s

EB
Sat, 10/03/2020 - 7:18pm

We're in big trouble. A lot of us are going to get sick and die because of this Michigan Supreme Court decision.

The Michigan Senate has been continuously controlled by Republicans since 1984, which means that with the exception of laws created via referendum, no Michigan law has been enacted in 36 years that didn't have Republican approval. Republicans are used to having their way in Michigan.

Until the 2022 election, very effective gerrymandering is guaranteed to give Republicans veto power over any legislation and with the exception of races for vacancies, there will be no Michigan Senate elections until 2022.

Republicans control the Michigan Supreme Court, which accounts for this partisan decision.

It generally takes months to pass a bill and if the governor vetoes it, generally months more.
A pandemic requires quick adjustments to changes on the ground; the quick part of this is nearly impossible to accomplish with legislation.

Voter # 5579328-S
Tue, 10/13/2020 - 7:16am

YES !

Richard Oman
Sat, 10/03/2020 - 7:25pm

What he really means is "learn to live with the economic distress along with the physical pain, suffering, and death." Of course he has outstanding insurance, medical treatment and well above the cost of living salary available to him.

Donna P
Sat, 10/03/2020 - 7:28pm

While I appreciate the Legislature's "freedom" view, mandates would not be necessary if the public, all of them, were willing to follow health & safety guidelines meant to keep us all safe. I see many people either not wearing masks or social distancing, putting us all at risk. If you care about your Constituents, Strongly tell them to wear masks, social distance, please don't just give it lip service.

JimBo
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 11:54am

NO. Strongly tell your friends and family to stay home if you feel unsafe or mask up. Well within your right. I have not and will not wear any restrictive, provably unhealthy device on my face, just to comfort persons such as yourself. WE THE PEOPLE will continue to live our lives normally, thank you very much!

Anonymous
Tue, 10/06/2020 - 3:51am

You must be a Russian troll. Too much nonsense to unpack there.

E. Sole
Sat, 10/03/2020 - 7:39pm

I will not patronize any business that does not require masks!

gayle jacobsen
Sat, 10/03/2020 - 9:04pm

I will not either. If they don't care enough to enforce a mask mandate, I won't care about their business.

Janine
Sat, 10/03/2020 - 9:19pm

Same here, and I guess I will stock up on groceries now.

Keith
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 8:10am

I will not patronize any business that DOES require masks.

Jamie
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 2:04pm

Coronavirus likes this.

Sad
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 6:46am

Keith, take it from Trump. You have no choice when the business is a hospital and you may even end up on a ventilator. The staff wears masks and not the kind everyone expects you to wear. My sister works in a hospital. In fact she wears two masks and a shield. She has lines on her face from the masks that last for hours after she removes them. She has to restrict so much of her freedom to help dummies like you. I cannot wait until this election is over.

Mask Up!
Tue, 10/06/2020 - 5:47pm

I don't care if Keith shops only at stores that allow fools like him to shop, but I have a problem when a store posts a sign that masks must be worn, but don't enforce the rule. So many times I have relied on the store's representation only to find some customers without a mask or employees with their nose hanging out of the mask, after I already have a shopping cart half full. I think those stores and violators should be prosecuted for fraud by inducement, tricking me to shop there and putting my health at risk. These crazy Republicans hate America.

John Chastain
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 9:01am

Kieth, your level of ignorance would be astounding if not for how common it is among people of your "political" persuasion. So don't "patronize" business that keep the rest of us safe from the willful stupidity of others, great. Good for you, that way we both will be happy. I won't get sick and you won't be anywhere near me, win win as they say.

Kate
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 9:33am

Same here. If they won't let me in without a face mask, I won't shop there...Menards.
Plus, not everyone is able to wear a mask. And if you are wearing a mask with one of those vents, you may as well not be wearing one. Right on the CDC website it explains that the vent allows all your droplets out and you could be infecting people.

Jeff
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 12:23pm

Good. People who would selfishly endanger others by not wearing a mask should order items online.

I call BS
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 3:32pm

People like you are Trump clones. See how that went?

Frank
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 2:18pm

You can join your president... in denial at the hospital.

Susan
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 9:24am

Thank you. I work in retail part time (I'm 71 this month) and am frightened and appalled by all the people who willfully challenge us when we remind them to cover their noses as well as their mouths. I ALWAYS wear a mask. Just because the GOP continues to relax the rules doesn't mean the pandemic is over; in fact, it increases the risk for all of us.

Common Sense
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 11:59am

That works for me. With that attitude we would be better off if you just stayed away from society in general. Stop being so closed minded.

Ellen
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 8:55am

How ironic your "name" is Common Sense when you really have none. Telling folks to just stay home because they feel unsafe because of thoughtless, idiots is certainly not common sense. Common sense says to listen to the experts and wear the damn mask. Follow the protocols and we all can move about safely. So self centered and so selfish the behavior of some who care not if they endanger others.

Betty the Yeti
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 3:34pm

You are the one being anti social, selfish.

Bob Dunn
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 10:57am

I think we need to find some way we can start a list by counties of establishments that are requiring masks. This way we know we have a better chance of staying alive.

Judi Johnson
Sat, 10/03/2020 - 7:45pm

So the Republicans in Michigan don't want our ELECTED Governor to make executive decisions for us, but Shirkey sure as hell is quick to be making all sorts of important decisions on behalf of ALL of us in the state of Michigan! WTH!!! Ridiculous!

Lou H.
Sat, 10/03/2020 - 10:42pm

He is not making any decisions on behalf of ALL of us in the state of Michigan. He is allowing you to make that decision for yourself. It is called FREEDOM. Are you scared of that person without a mask? Then stay away from them. He didn't say you couldn't wear your mask if you want to.

Jeff
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 7:59pm

It's not that simple, Lou. We're talking about viruses that are spread via respiratory droplets and, while 6 feet is recommended, the range appears to be greater than that. When you're buying groceries you don't know when you're rounding a corner that some person without a mask is there - or that they may have just sneezed on the handle of the door behind which the milk is.

As far as being scared of that person without a mask, yeah I am. Sorry if I'm not as macho as you are. I'm not sure why this chest-beating "I'm a tough guy, you're just chicken of the virus" is considered persuasive. Just check out all the news crews at Walter Reed to see how that plays out.

I can't guarantee that people who pass by a few feet from me in Meijer without a mask aren't going to infect me and perhaps infect loved ones. Maybe that doesn't concern you. It does concern me. As I said elsewhere, how about trying "Love Thy Neighbor"?

Anonymous
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 6:48am

Shirkey=Trump

Anon
Fri, 10/09/2020 - 10:24pm

Anyone who works with the public can't stay away from anti-maskers. You are literally and figuratively spitting in the face of people who need to work for a living. They are the ones who suffer. The cashiers, the grocery clerks, the teachers, the librarians, the bus drivers... They could get sick, meaning they could lose their job or their LIFE because you are too self absorbed to wear a mask. And those people sure as hell can't afford the medical bills when they do get sick. Your selfish actions could cause someone, AT BEST to go into lifelong debt and at worse, could kill someone. But no, please continue to cup your blood stained hands to cry freedom at the top of your lungs, Lou. I'm sure we all appreciate knowing that your facebook politics are more important than people's lives.

Gus
Sat, 10/03/2020 - 11:24pm

What Republicans (and those that care about liberty) don't want is a governor that is able to make decisions for the state without the consent of the governed via our elected representatives. Don't get me wrong, Gov. Whitmer was well within her rights to make executive orders at the beginning of the pandemic and has had to make tough choices. But after initial executive orders, it should be the legislature that writes these laws and then Gov. Whitmer has the decision whether or not to execute those laws. In the meantime, it is about each of us taking personal responsibility to protect those around us by social distancing and wearing a mask not because the government says we have to, but because we each know that is how we can safely get through this together.

RIP
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 4:40pm

Now we are left to deal with a pandemic with do-nothing Republicans in charge. It's a depressing way to try to deal with a pandemic. I mean, look at what happened when Trump was in charge.

EB
Tue, 10/06/2020 - 9:49am

If we had "elected representatives" in our legislature, you'd have a point. However, very few, both Democrat and Republican, occupiers of their seats in the legislature are actually elected to office. The vast majority are gerrymandered into office, not elected into office.

I consider both of Michigan's legislative bodies to be illegitimate, since few seat occupiers are actually elected in general elections. Nearly all are elected by the hyper-partisans who vote in primaries, since the general election political party outcome was and still is predetermined by gerrymandering.

Nicole
Sat, 10/03/2020 - 7:57pm

Good to hear there will be NO mask mandate.
We are frankly tired of the government edicts dictating every moment of our lives.
Last time I checked we were a free nation.
We are adults who can make our own decisions.
If people don't feel safe, stay home as the Governor ordered.
Order groceries online.
Do what you need to do.
The rest of us who want to live and be free and take chances will do just that.
Good to see Republicans making the right moves.
No more restrictions. This includes capacity in restaurants and businesses.

gayle jacobsen
Sat, 10/03/2020 - 9:09pm

How selfish of you. Why should an elderly or compromised individual have to give up simple freedoms in their last few years of their lives just because you don't feel like wearing a mask to help protect them.

Linaka
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 9:08am

Thank you! It's not just giving up the last few years of their lives. People with conditions like my husband's cancer can live for a very long time if he doesn't get COVID-19. He' s high risk X3 and has a young child. People who don't respect others' safety force my whole family to stay in lock down mode. We have been this way for 6 months! Enough already. Masks are not a political issue. They're our way out.

Trevieze
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 11:25am

Tiny tyrant, you stay out of my life and I will stay out of yours.

Jeff
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 12:25pm

When you spread your virus by not wearing your mask you aren’t just entering other folks’ lives; you’re endangering those lives.

CCTUTOR68
Sat, 10/03/2020 - 10:16pm

Businesses can actually make their own rules about who they allow inside their establishment. No restaurant or grocery store, allows patrons to enter without shoes or a shirt. Have you been bitching about that yet? MOST, IF NOT ALL BUSINESSES will keep the restrictions in place. The ones that do not (especially the restaurants and bars) will suffer when patrons fall ill and the word is spread that its not safe to frequent these establishments. Small family owned establishments will continue to restrict capacity, mandate mask wearing, and practice frequent disinfecting because they know it would be foolish not to do so.

CCTUTOR68
Sat, 10/03/2020 - 10:17pm

Businesses can actually make their own rules about who they allow inside their establishment. No restaurant or grocery store, allows patrons to enter without shoes or a shirt. Have you been bitching about that yet? MOST, IF NOT ALL BUSINESSES will keep the restrictions in place. The ones that do not (especially the restaurants and bars) will suffer when patrons fall ill and the word is spread that its not safe to frequent these establishments. Small family owned establishments will continue to restrict capacity, mandate mask wearing, and practice frequent disinfecting because they know it would be foolish not to do so.

Dave
Sat, 10/03/2020 - 11:06pm

Well put. Nicole! Health Care Workers, to hell with them! If hospitals get overburdened, well, too bad - they chose their line of work. Of course, if you happen to get the covid, you'll not burden the health care system, so those who took reasonable percautions have access, right?

Holly
Sat, 10/03/2020 - 11:25pm

That would be fine if it only effected that one person, but it doesn’t. Those people then go to work and school, restaurants and stores and leave a trail of sick people behind them. Why should I have to go to work and risk being infected because my coworkers don’t want to wear a mask? That doesn’t mean I “live in fear”, it means I’m socially responsible and don’t want to spread a potentially deadly disease to other people. I’d love to stay hoke and avoid people. But I have a job and have to work. Unfortunately, I have to rely on my coworkers to be responsible and seeing comments like this makes me realize how selfish people really are.

Steve
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 1:36am

"Freedom" does NOT mean FreeDUMB! There IS NO FREEDOM to take chances with other people's LIVES & HEALTH! THIS is why we have government, and science, and public education. Putting others at risk is assaulting others! Buy a CLUE! Wear a MASK!

Trevieze
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 11:27am

No.

Karma
Tue, 10/06/2020 - 3:58am

"YES"

Gareth
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 7:50am

I think we should get rid of speed limits too. Last time I checked we were a free nation. We are adults who can make our own decisions. Me and my buddies like to street race through neighborhoods and if that makes people feel unsafe to go out I suggest you:
Order groceries online.
Do what you need to do.
The rest of us who want to live and be free and take chances will do just that.

David A. Carlson
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 1:34pm

Gareth, So- you feel your freedom only when running cars at high speed through my neighborhood. This shows your mental age to be about 9 years. I have decided to set up some big black Brunswick bowling balls on ramps along my street, with stout strong black strings in a kind of keyboard attached to chips of wood restraining these balls from entering the street at speed. A little experimentation will allow us to spoil your street races. See ya out there! signed BOOM-BOOM McDoom.

Gareth
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 4:30pm

Sarcasm alert David. Please read what I was replying to.

Jeff
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 8:01pm

Gareth was being sarcastic to make a point. Reductio ad absurdum

GOP Dreams
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 6:56am

Gareth was being sarcastic because our "law and order" president ironically follows NO laws and that's what all Trump supporters want for themselves, no laws.

Ron
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 11:37am

David, I think Gareth was being sarcastic with his comment about wanting his freedom to drag race through neighborhoods. Wearing masks is more about protecting others from you in case you have the bug but no symptoms. Pretty much following the Golden Rule which I plan to do with or without government mandates. My hope would be that our elected officials, regardless of which party they are from, work TOGETHER for the people.

John Q Public
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 8:11am

You must not know anyone who has died or have relatives who are at high risk. This kind of attitude is why a mask mandate is necessary. I do not want individuals, such as yourself, making decisions that could impact my life and those I care about.

Freedom Mom
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 8:34am

I couldn't agree more, Nicole. I'm glad to hear that we're both staunchly in favor of removing illegal restrictions like speed limits. People who can't deal with it should just stay home.

GOP Nuts
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 6:59am

Hell, why have roads at all? People should be able to drive wherever they want. It's a "free country". Why do we even have private property? No one should tell us where we or our germs can go.

Rob
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 9:03am

Best comment of the day. He was right.. you will be enacting laws until the cows come home if your plan (like Whitmer’s) is to attempt to control each decision a person makes, and to prevent all bad decisions.

It’s not humanly possible to have enough write laws to cover that.

Whitmer was about power and control from the jump. She saw a crisis, and began drooling.

Luckily, we have a right-leaning Supreme Court that cares about the constitution.

Karma Baby
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 3:38pm

Yep, you can't legislate morality. You can only hope your leaders lead by example. Thank you Governor Whitmer! Trump not so much.

Call a doctor!
Tue, 10/06/2020 - 6:08pm

We can't blame Trump. He has uncontrollable roid rage on top of everything else. Who is responsible to intervene? 25th Amendment.

Vicky
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 9:52am

I am more than happy to let those of you who wish to use horrendously bad judgment infect each other and bear the consequences.
Trump has provided a good example for you as to how that works. Unfortunately, in doing so you will overburden our healthcare system, making it difficult for those with other conditions to receive treatment. Businesses will be hurt if mandates are retracted because many, many people will not enter if masks and distancing aren't required. Those of you who don't want to exercise precaution are in the minority.
Those of you who want to "live and be free" are selfish. You don't know how to sacrifice for the greater good. May God help you.

W
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 11:21am

Do you also want the right to choose to drive while drunk because you are an adult and we live in a free nation?

Louise
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 11:22am

Die Michigan, die! You are now able to kill yourselves and people you come in contact with. Hooray! Great decision.

Donna
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 10:48pm

Drama queen. You stay home and wear your mask!

Thoughts and Prayers
Tue, 10/06/2020 - 4:02am

Didn't Kellyanne Conway use to say stuff like that?

Pity
Tue, 10/06/2020 - 6:10pm

I feel sorry for her daughter. Where is social services?

VOTE for DEMOCRATS!
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 7:19am

It's time for Michigan to vote out the GOP across the state. Let majority rule, not gerrymandered corporate rule. We're right back to colonial times, pre-revolution.

GOP Hypocrites
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 4:12pm

I know. How Pro-Life!

Anne Murphy
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 11:35am

You do not have the right to give covid 19 to other citizens by not wearing a mask and doing whatever you like. This has nothing to do with rights. It is your civic duty to protect others. Do you think going to the bar to have a beer , restaurants, and bowling alleys is more important than saving lives? This is a very sad set of priorities, one that is based only on what childish people want to satisfy their immediate desires and shows a extreme weakness of character.

Anonymous
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 7:16am

I know. I wonder why Shirkey makes us wear clothes. Don't we have freedom to be nude? Why are opiods illegal? Why is the GOP so dictatorial?

Felix
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 11:58am

COVID, COVID, that's our plan!
We're gonna catch it, every man!
No masks! No distance!
Noooo resistance!
Virus wins in Mich-i-gan!
Gooooooooo COVID!

Michelle N
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 6:50am

Nichole, have you seen any of the news from Washington this week?

Robert Kleine
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 8:55am

You should read about what Americans had to do during World War II. If people had acted like this
then we would have lost the war. The British enduring bombing for months on end and endured. By the way, 405,000 Americans died in WWII over a 4-year period, we are half way there in 6 months. Wear a mask and stop whining.

Renee G.
Sat, 10/03/2020 - 8:39pm

Mike Shirkey....Really??? "Freedom is Messy", "We have to learn to live with the virus?" Tell that to the THOUSANDS IN MICHIGAN ALONE....that have lost mother's - father's - husband's - wives - children.....I live in Northern Michigan, where Covid is not as rampant as downstate, and I know at least one person that can fit in each one of those categories.....first hand. Like the Governor or not, our state is in a much better place that the majority of the country BECAUSE of the mandates in place. This, however, as we have all seen over the last 48 hours, with the Whitehouse becoming an epicenter for the virus, does not mean we can relax and go back to normal and just "live with the virus".....You say it doesn't surprise you??? The office of the President should be the last place this virus showed up, the leader of the free world is supposed to be protected from harm above all else....BUT, they did NOT wear masks or social distance properly.....and now look.
You say that people will do the right thing???? Then YOU DO NOT live in the real world. This has been a mandate since April, May....and there are those that have not cared about others, and have even gone out of their way to try to "prove" they can do what they want every single day!!!! I see it every freaken single day!!!! It would be different if these precautions protected ourselves.....then so be it, do whatever the hell you want, it is your life.....BUT THEY DO NOT!!!!.....I do not wear a mask for myself......at all, doesn't help me, I wear it in the slightest chance that I may be carrying the virus, and so I do NOT give it to your MOM, your Grandma, your SON, or YOU for that matter. Has KARMA not proven itself to our country enough yet????

If I am forced to work somewhere, where masks are not mandated, and where at least 98% of people are wearing masks, I will take it to the Supreme Court, and enter into a legal battle with the employer, the city, county, the state, the MI Republican Party, and....in particular.... YOU for KOWINGLY, AND WILLINGLY endangering THE LIVES OF MY FAMILY AND MYSELF.......People do NOT do the right thing...... we live in a world of self entitled careless people.

As for the "doctors" trying to sue the Governor, saying her mandates caused harm to their patients...no one has pointed out that the patients .....WERE IN FACT.... under the care of the "doctors".....and it was left 100% up to THEM to make the decision whether their patients conditions were severe enough to risk getting whatever procedures were necessary to care for their patients. The mandate specifically stated that unnecessary and elective procedures and visits be postponed. It was up to the "doctors".....being that is what they went to school for......to decide where there was more risk....doing the visit or procedure, or not at the time. If the patients suffered, then the "DOCTORS" were at fault, they DID NOT do their job in taking care of their patients.......it could be interpreted that the "doctors" were sacrificing their patients health to try to prove a political agenda. Those patients should be looking in the right direction for their answers and retribution, I know I would.

This is NOT A political issue, no matter how much you try to make it one....the President should be teaching everyone that RIGHT AT THIS VERY MOMENT!!! It is a health issue, a MORAL issue, a CARE ABOUT YOUR FELLOW MAN/WOMAN issue.......what is it going to take to get people to see this.........

Temple
Sat, 10/03/2020 - 9:54pm

It is just unbelievable that you will not mandate mask if it can save a life. If top doctors recommend it then it should be mandatory. If it will save a life wear the mask. If You dont wont to then don't but you would not be welcome around my company/business. If they did it in the early 1900 with the other pandemic...quit crying about your right consider other people.

Annette Morrin
Sat, 10/03/2020 - 10:06pm

I know in my little town if masks are not mandated they will not be worn as they would not wear them when they were just suggested.
I am thankful for Gov Whitmer and her science based mandates that have kept the people of Michigan healthy and safe. With the flu season beginning in the mist of the corona Virus we need the strong leadership of Whitmer to keep both republicans and democrats safe through the winter.The push back on the Governor from the republican side of the isle is unbecoming and shallow.

Wondering
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 7:28am

Big town, little town, we're all at the mercy of people who have been attending Trump rallies, packed and not wearing masks, spreading the virus and IMPOSING their reckless will on us. Is it that they hate the governor because she is a woman and can't be smarter than a man? I can't understand why their is a war on science. Trump is now in the hospital being treated by people who study science, not business or politics. The irony is not lost on karma.

Anonymous
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 4:26pm

Roger's Oscoda Ace. The owners think enforcing mask-wearing is a joke, many employees don't wear a mask or wear one with their nose sticking out; some customers don't wear masks even when it was mandated. They hate their own customers. I avoid that store like the plague. The sad part is that you don't know until you enter the store and see the petulant people in the store. Ausable Hardware & Surplus is BEST and ONLY place to shop for hardware in Oscoda.

Anonymous
Sat, 10/03/2020 - 10:44pm

What an ignorant jerk! He obviously has no respect for other people including his own family. We don't need these Neanderthals in our state government making medical decisions for the rest of us.

Georgia
Sat, 10/03/2020 - 10:51pm

Wearing a mask is not only learning how to live with CoVid it is providing safety for us to begin allowing to go into Michigan spaces safely. One of my sons has to work in public if you don't require a mask, he will be at great risk. Don't make us another Wisconsin.

MOT
Sat, 10/03/2020 - 11:33pm

Masks are meant to not only protect the wearer, but those he/she may come in contact with. If you are infected and not wearing a mask in public, you are endangering others....like having unprotected sex when you are HIV positive. Are you willing to be responsible for the deaths of others?

SL
Sat, 10/03/2020 - 11:44pm

This guy is frightening and has no place in legislature. Do law making and public health require “inspiration and trusting people” along with his magical thinking—or does it require making rules, guidelines and laws to be enforced? Whitmer was doing her job and did it damn well given the opposition and challengs she faced.

Shar
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 3:02am

What a bunch of useless idiots! Maybe if Mike and the rest of the “leadership” and their families gets Covid, they may grasp that it’s still an emergency. To assume everyone will will do the right thing is absurd! We will become the next Texas with countless more cases and deaths. Mike Shirkey needs to be recalled!

Salem Again
Tue, 10/06/2020 - 4:15am

I don't think they care about their families as much as they claim they do. God forbid one is gay, they shun him or her. Covid is just God's proof that someone is a sinner because face it everyone is a sinner. Remember the Salem witch trials?

Helen
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 6:14am

This is so sad to play politics with peoples lives. Shirkey's arguments can say that same thing for any law. The basis of his argument is "why have laws?" "Life is messy, just live with it (or die with it)". Maybe BCBS and other insurers need to put in a new clause that says if you caught COVID and were not wearing a mask, there is no coverage, because the idiots not wearing one drives up the cost for the rest of us. Vote the bums out!

Sheila Strunk
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 6:43am

Even with President Trump hospitalized for Covid, they resist wearing masks. I am fearful for what is coming.

William C. Plumpe
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 7:42am

I understand Shirkey's points about balance of powers, cooperation between the branches of government, the possibility of overreach by the Governor and that adults can make their own decisions but until there is an effective vaccine ready for public distribution Covid will remain a serious health crisis that warrants unilateral emergency action by the Executive Branch based upon expert medical advice. This use of power was the Governor's plan all along to help keep Michiganders safe.
And while I want adults to make their own decisions wisely that ideal often doesn't happen. That is why there are laws and Executive orders.
Finally if we want to see the bad effects of not enough strong rules at the right time all we have to do is look at Trump's failure to act on Covid soon enough leading to almost 250,000 deaths and an economy in a shambles. Add to this Trump's foolish and arrogant flaunting of the rules infecting himself, his family
and staff possibly creating a national emergency there is more than enough proof that if we really want to beat Covid we need strong and decisive Executive leadership at all levels.

Jeff
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 8:08pm

I understand why the court ruled as it did - such unilateral unlimited power could easily be abused. But I've seen no sign that the Legislature's leaders are taking this seriously. Frankly, while claiming since April that they wanted to work with the Governor, they've proven her point, that they won't work in good faith. Taking the one proven thing that works off the table before even entering negotiations is proof that they aren't serious and won't work in good faith.

If they'd instead said "we think we need more precise metrics to determine when areas re-open, we think attendance limits at events and facilities are too strict, we want to set up a renewal process for any extension, we'd like to see more localized shutdown decisions instead of entire regions" - THEN I'd think they would be serious about working toward improved policies (because the Governor certainly hasn't been infallible on this). But instead they start talking about the wonders of not wearing masks like they're reading Q-Anon stuff.

Marie Thomas
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 7:55am

How long will it take before so many maskless Michiganders become too sick to work or maintain their businesses that we don’t have enough money in the budget to support those temporary unemployment funds? Of course he is in favor of keeping those. It’s the popular thing to do. Being a responsible leader means sometimes having to make unpopular decisions in the interest of the common good.
In light of what has just happened to maskless members of the White House staff I would expect leadership to be encouraging mask wearing., a minor inconvenience. It’s what keeps sick people from spreading the virus. This, Mr. Shirkey, is very irresponsible.

Terrified by In...
Tue, 10/06/2020 - 4:11am

We're seeing that in real time at the White House where chaos rules.

Sariah
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 8:16am

The problem with Shirkey's assumption is that we CAN'T trust people to do the right thing. Wearing a mask doesn' t do a lot to protect me - but it does protect you from me. I will continue to wear a mask regardless of the mandate to protect my neighbors and community, but who will ensure that I am protected as well? According to the 2019 MSP Drunk Driving Audit report, over 30,000 Michigan residents were arrested for driving under the influence. Clearly, people don't do the right thing all the time, in many different contexts. Without a mandate, many will refuse to follow the guidance of public health authorities. Wearing a mask is literally the smallest inconvenience one can endure in exchange for both safety and a resumption of economic activity. Masks were our ticket to freedom, but they have been cast as a yolk around our necks by Shirkey and others of his party.

Kevin
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 8:34am

Mandates, like wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle, infringe upon an individual’s liberty. And an individual’s liberty is in the eye of the beholder—one person’s liberty is another’s collective entrapment. As I believe we all should, I’ll lookout for myself. Don’t wear a mask on my behalf. Nor expect me to.

Jeff
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 8:09pm

Not wearing a helmet only puts you at risk, so there's a Darwinian component to it. Not wearing a mask only puts others at risk. That's the distinction.

NotKevin
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 10:08pm

How respectful of you... you’ll look out for yourself while disregarding those around you! Such a freedom fighter! Thanks Kevin... you sir are the exception to the rule of decency. I’m glad I had this opportunity to read your words... please start a blog** so I can follow your insights.

**Next topic will be... no more seatbelts because you don’t like what they do to your tank top!!

Btw- “another” is singular... “collective” implies many. You’re brilliance is astounding...

Susie
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 11:43pm

I don’t give a flip if you wear a helmet or not but don’t you dare try to sue me when you are severely injured in an accident. You don’t have the right to kill other people, which Covid does. Wearing a mask does not infringe upon our rights any more than obeying speed limits and paying taxes. It’s our duty as citizens of the United States. We are in a pandemic!!

Polly
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 9:03am

That's a false equivalence. You not wearing a helmet while motorcycling only impacts your own health. You not wearing a mask impacts others. Why is that so hard for people to understand? You can't drive drunk just because you want to. It impacts other people!

John Chastain
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 9:16am

Kevin, I don't know if your serious or simply trolling but as someone with over 45 years of ridding experience I know the outright self-destructive stupidity of not wearing safety equipment including a helmet while ridding. The consequences from it affects family and society and like Covid is about more than just yourself. I know as many people who ride cycles do that the consequence of closed head injuries is years of rehab that are often lifetime affairs and crippling injuries that destroy families as well as the injured rider. So pretend that this is about personal "freedom" but its not. You get sick from Covid just like if you get injured from not wearing a helmet and society / family pays right along side of you. Its a selfish and ignorant position to take, perhaps someday soon you'll experience it for yourself.

scm
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 9:46am

Ignoring mandates like wearing a helmet punishes only you (and the people that care about you, should you have an accident and sustain brain damage, for example). Not wearing a mask, because they essentially protect others, punishes others. If you want to focus on “rights”, make choices for which you are accountable and responsible for the consequences. You have no “right” to inflict the consequences of your irresponsible choices on anyone else! I’m assuming the next push by our intelligent and principled republican legislators will be to legalize drunk driving, after all, as you claim, liberty is in the eye of the beholder, if somebody else gets hurt, it’s really their problem.

Hink
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 8:38am

Time to stop villainizing our governor for a science based approach to saving lives in Michigan. She has worked hard on everyone's behalf and taken a lot of flak for trying to do the right thing. People need to examine their own motives regarding what we're ALL going through and figure out what is so hard about wearing a mask when it has been shown to be the most effective way to prevent transmission of this highly contagious and dangerous disease.

Susan Reithel
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 8:50am

Have our lawmakers not learned ANYTHING from what is happening in Wisconsin?!

Anna
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 8:52am

Once again the Republicans demonstrate that a political "win" is more important than people's health and wellbeing.

Pa Nelson
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 8:59am

You mean we have to live OR DIE with it.

Yes, 'the virus has won'.

Peggy Brown
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 9:01am

If the Republicans continue to spread the notion that Covid 19 is not serious and that wearing a mask is not necessary, by example, they are putting peoples lives in danger. The mask mandate should continue. It is up to business owners to protect their customers. If businesses do not continue to protect their customers, they will lose business anyway. Wear the mask. Protect yourself and others around you! If you are a true American you are responsible to take care of your fellow man!

George Hagenauer
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 9:19am

"The virus ultimately was going to win, it was just going to take a longer time." I am glad our Republican legislature isn't leading us in war time. And how does this work with the concept of "Right to Life". It is not all right to abort nonviable cells but is all right to expose children to a virus that can disable them for life. In the meantime, this reinforces my sense that Republicans don't care if you live or die and if you are older would rather have you dead and off social security than safe, healthy and productive. How else do you interpret their health care policies both here and Trump's attempts to end medicare funding. What is interesting is that their moves are not conservative. Every serious COvid case cost thousands of dollars and for those who are permanently disabled a major long term economic impact. We will of course be paying for that in increased health insurance costs. Compare that to the cost of a mask and wearing one and it is pretty obvious that a lot of their policies are not driven by anything resembling real conservative economics.

Anonymous
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 7:50am

Ever since Trump ended up with COVID19 in Walter Reed, the GOP started posting online ads referring to Bonespurs as a "True Warrior". Ironic that Bonespurs who disdained John McCain for being imprisoned and branded him a "loser" even though he could have gone home, but sacrificed for his fellow soldiers. Bonespurs calls that a "sucker". Yet Bonespurs has the audacity to call himself a "Wartime President". Now that he couldn't even protect his own family, Trump's adoring unthinking sycophant fans call him a "True Warrior".

Robert Fox
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 10:06am

Amazing. The CDC recommends mask with proven statistics that it reduces the spread. Shirkers rationale does not come close to pass the reasonable persons test. This senior is very disappointed in his position and that will
Be reflected on Nov 3

Just sayin'
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 8:04am

I already voted, straight Democratic ticket, and voted for McCormack/Welch on the Supreme Court! https://www.freep.com/story/opinion/editorials/2020/10/01/mccormack-and-...

Throw the bums out! I'm so glad we have absentee voting. I signed up for it for all elections going forward. Now I have time to learn about all the candidates. BTW Vote "NO" on Proposal 1.

https://www.sierraclub.org/michigan/endorsed-candidates-and-proposals-2020

Don't wait for Russian BS October surprises, VOTE NOW! Blue tsunami 2020!

Hope
Tue, 10/06/2020 - 4:55am

YES, don't wait until November, vote NOW!

Trevieze
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 11:29am

Prove the CDC assertions about masks are correct. You cant.

I call BS
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 4:32pm

Just look at every other country in the world, fool. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
The USA is a first world embarrassment in company with the worst countries in the world, dead last in fighting COVID19.

Mary Fox
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 10:10am

Republicans have learned nothing. They are completely unprepared to deal with a virus. I am astounded they are so stupid they cannot even listen to the experts. We are the only state not in emergency. People who get this virus may not have symptoms, but they now have a pre-existing condition that damages lungs, liver, heart and brain. Republican is now a synonym for stupid.

Barb Hammonds
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 10:19am

This man does not represent me or my views I strongly support the governor and her efforts to keep Michigan safe. She did not designate between party lines but for the people. Mask up Michigan, think about where it got the potus

Susan B
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 10:28am

Does this mean that school districts will not be able to enforce mask rules?

Jen
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 7:26pm

Educational institutions are what worry me most - lots of concern for business here, but not much mention of education. With no mandate - how can we be sure we can enforce rules for our schools or libraries? Even to wear our own masks, as we're told to do - what do I do when someone complains they can't understand me with my mask on? Or that they felt threatened because they can't see my facial expressions & it concerns them? No - without someone making the hard decisions & setting the consequences to go with them, those of us who work in public service & can't just stay home may find ourselves with very few options. I will hope for the best.

Somalia???
Tue, 10/06/2020 - 6:15pm

What about the collapse of our government? We see the Trump house of cards collapsing and no one is in charge. I pray Pelosi takes control as second in line. I mean, where is Pence? Is he sick too? Can't he see what's happening?

Polly
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 9:05am

Schools should be able to. It's a dress code, right?

Blue Wave 2020
Tue, 10/06/2020 - 4:25am

Just move to online school and really piss off those inept leaders Shirkey and Chatfield who only care about running for governor, not our lives or livelihoods.

Anne Murphy
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 10:37am

So the GOP is going to force herd immunity on all of us and cause 10,000s of citizens to die. You have no morals or ethics.

Bob Daykin
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 10:48am

"Messy" is the normal process of democracy. Dead is the process of Covid-19, doubly so for the most vulnerable and people of color. Shirking is show his true colors - green - as in the pocket of money. Sad, sick end for what was once a party of principle, reform and intelligent compromise.

Mary
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 12:04pm

Our cases are going down because of Governor Whitmer - no thanks to you.

Trevieze
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 11:23am

You put too much faith in people you don't even know. The flu happens every year and kills 100k people like clockwork. The only difference this year is there is an election and Orange Man Bad. You stay out of my life and I will stay out of yours.

mw
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 3:00pm

The flu doesn't kill 100k people every year "like clockwork." The CDC actually posts numbers for flu deaths the annual deaths are much lower than your fake numbers.

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/past-seasons.html

Other major differences: 1)we have a flu vaccine; 2) we have therapeutics to help treat people with the flu; and 3) flu is comparatively less severe, in terms of contagiousness, hospitalization rates, and death than COVID.

I call BS
Mon, 10/05/2020 - 4:48pm

Trevieze,

Overall, the CDC estimates that 12,000 and 61,000 deaths annually since 2010 can be blamed on the flu. Most years, the US death toll from the flu is closer to 34,000 to 43,000.

https://www.health.com/condition/cold-flu-sinus/how-many-people-die-of-t...

Covid-19 death in the USA are already more than TWICE your fake figure of 100,000 and we were actively socially distancing.

David A. Carlson
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 1:21pm

Shirkey and Springfield are no longer swimming in Trump Lake. I suggest they disappeared in it and nobody noticed. This is a very strange way to keep Michigan citizens safe from harm.

Leah Papcke
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 1:38pm

Hmm, maybe they should take that attitude toward drunk driving, too. Isn't that about individual choice and making good decisions? In Michigan there were only 315 fatalities from drunk driving in 2018. So far, there have been 6,801 deaths from Covid.

DMK
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 2:11pm

Dear Majority Leader Shirkey;
You have "strong, strong feelings" on this issue. So do all Michiganders. Leadership exercises responsibility and makes decisions based on strong, strong data and sound evidence. In the coming days, please work to demonstrate leadership that relies on deep understanding of these issues rather than your strong feelings. Michiganders want, expect and deserve this kind of leadership rather than being told what they want to hear. Anything less would only serve to demonstrate the job of majority leader is too big for you and someone with the capabilities to provide this type of leadership should fill that role. The type of leadership you provide in the coming weeks will literally mean life or death for some Michiganders. Never forget that.

Jim M. Evers
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 2:24pm

Naysayers are all Republicans, which is why Trump is on his deathbed....dumb assholes.

charlene slowinski
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 3:15pm

I think this is a GOP power grab, many will get sick or die with their ideology !

Anonymous
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 3:31pm

Is he a scientist? No? Then he has no business telling us how to handle COVID.

Laura Wagar
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 3:33pm

Frankly Whitmer only was trying to protect Michiganders, and now being undermined will add to the division this country is already experiencing. Shame on Shirkey to say he has a right to be on the floor without a mask when ALL world scientists agree that is the worst thing to do. This is not a feather in the republican unless its a dodo bird one.

Kat
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 3:42pm

The GOP doesn’t care about you. What they mean by learning to live with COVID-19 is get use to more people dying.

Rod M
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 4:37pm

I as 99% of responsible Americans do our patriotic duty to protect our fellow Americans by wearing a mask. Those businesses that dont enforce mask wearing to protect customers and their workers will NOT get business from me EVER !!!

rod murphy
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 4:39pm

I as 99% of responsible Americans do our patriotic duty to protect our fellow Americans by wearing a mask. Those businesses that dont enforce mask wearing to protect customers and their workers will NOT get business from me EVER !!!

Vince Caruso
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 4:50pm

GOP's (Grand Oligark Party) days are numbered because of folks like you, ignore reality. Covid is here. Heed the warnings or pay the price.

But encouraging others to do the same is unforgivable.

Northern Michigan
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 6:15pm

Here's an idea. For all of you who've decided to live your lives with "freedom"... Maybe stop ridiculing and denigrating those who opt to follow the science and wear one. You can also remember it is your choice to NOT wear a mask and your choice to NOT shop at those places who still require them. That means, rather than yell, scream and threaten the poor employee who is only doing his or her job, you calmly, quietly and RESPECTFULLY turn around and leave. Hmmm?

Lenawee county ...
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 6:38pm

The guy that likes driving his motorcycle without helmet - his freedom to do what he wants made me remember an idea that I've been thinking about for next year.
Since I own a business, I can change the policy so I won't pay to cover vehicle-related injuries in employee's medical insurance plans. (Auto insurance would be first and only). After Obamacare gets tossed out by the Supremes, I'll get cheaper rates because all that pre-existing stuff won't get covered. I like that I get to pick and choose. The birth control coverage is cheap; the other stuff is what is really expensive. Employees don't care.
Thanks Trump.

Sherry Lynn
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 7:18pm

Senator Shirkey's comment that Michigan will have to learn to live with the coronavirus should have been Michigan will have to learn to die with the coronavirus. His comment that this should no longer be considered a public health emergency is just irresponsible. Comments like these are what will allow the virus to kill another 7,000 Michiganders.

Jeff
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 7:51pm

Interesting comment from Senator Shirkey, saying the Legislature can't bar a duly elected Senator from the Senate floor due to failure to wear a mask. Yet Senate rules require legislators to wear business attire when on the floor, so the Senate is perfectly willing to bar a duly elected official from the Senate floor due to failure to wear business attire. In other words, either he doesn't know the attire rules that his own office issues to Senators and staff or else he's lying.

Anonymous
Tue, 10/06/2020 - 4:28am

My guess is "lying". It's in fashion under GOP TRUMPISM.

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