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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer expected to extend stay-home order until May 15

Gretchen Whitmer
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer predicted the omicron variant of the coronavirus could mean “tough times” for Michigan in the next several weeks.

Details: Michigan’s new stay-home order to allow landscaping, boating and golf
Details: What Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home executive order means to Michigan

LANSING — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will revise and extend Michigan’s stay-at-home order as the state continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic, her office confirmed Friday morning ahead of an 11 a.m. press conference.

MIRS subscription news service in Lansing and Fox 2 in Detroit report the extension will last through May 15 and is expected to allow large retailers to reopen paint and gardening sections that had been ordered closed, provided they take extra precautions to slow the spread of the virus. The reports suggest Whitmer may also relax rules for outdoor activities like motorboating and golf. 

The pending announcement comes as business groups and Republican lawmakers lobby the governor to begin reopening the economy. The GOP-led Legislature will meet Friday to form a new oversight committee to review Whitmer’s handling of the pandemic, and the Senate will vote to repeal a law giving Whitmer emergency powers, which she has promised to veto. 

Michigan reported 1,325 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Thursday, its highest single-day jump since April 14 as more aggressive testing efforts ramp up.  To date, the state has confirmed 35,291 cases and 2,977 related deaths.

Whitmer first issued a stay-at-home order March 23 and extended it on April 9. 

Whitmer argues she derives her emergency authority for the lockdown order from two separate laws: The Emergency Management Act of 1976, which requires a legislative extension every 28 days, and The Emergency Powers of Governor Act of 1945, which does not require any legislative approval.

The GOP-led Legislature previously extended her emergency authority through April 30, but legislators contend she cannot continue to act unilaterally beyond that point without their blessing. The Senate is poised to vote for repeal of the 1945 law Friday, setting up a possible House vote next week.

The House and Senate will meet to form a “special oversight committee” on the state’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, announced Thursday.

“Michigan needs to handle this pandemic seriously yet properly. It’s what the people deserve, and we will see that it happens,” Chatfield wrote on Twitter.

Whitmer said Wednesday she was likely to extend her stay-home order and said there will be “some form of a stay-at-home order in effect for a long time here.”

“When we do start to re-engage, it will have to be very thoughtful and precise, mitigating risk to all and mitigating the risk of a second wave,” the governor said. “But we will start to re-engage.”

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