by Scott McClallen
Two state representatives are calling on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to relax her executive orders to allow some businesses to operate if they can adhere to social distancing guidelines.
State Rep. Graham Filler, R-DeWitt, asked to allow Michigan’s golf courses to operate under the governor’s stay-at-home order.
“With tens of thousands of employees, and endless opportunities for exercise and outdoor recreation, Michigan’s golf courses are not only a wonderful resource for the state, but also uniquely situated to allow for outdoor leisure activity while allowing participants to stay safe and physically separated,” Filler wrote.
Filler said courses can take safety measures such as limiting carts to one person and sanitizing carts before and after use, online scheduling, and more.
Golf courses in Ohio, Illinois and Indiana – all under stay-at-home orders – have stayed open, he said.
Filler compared golf to other outdoor activities allowed under the executive order in which people can recreate outdoors while staying at a safe distance from others.
“It’s really no different than hiking, biking or jogging through a local park,” he said. “As long as you stay away from crowds, all of these activities are safe ways to relieve stress during this difficult time.”
Rep. Jim Lower, R-Greenville, today asked Whitmer to ease her executive order because many of the businesses shuttered can operate while maintaining social distancing, such as lawn care businesses and nurseries.
“Under the governor’s orders, people can line up at a hardware store to buy gardening tools and yard waste bags, but a guy who owns a landscaping business can’t tidy up the yard of a senior citizen who isn’t capable of doing it themselves,” Lower said in a statement. “It just doesn’t make sense.”
Lower said he has heard from landscapers who say they can work within social distancing guidelines.
“Most of these businesses are family owned and operate outside, where social distancing would be easy to comply with,” Lower said. “Yet, they’re forced to close while grocery and hardware stores can continue selling their plants. I don’t blame them one bit for being frustrated.”
Zack Pohl, Whitmer’s communications director, said that her office will review the requests.
“This is the worst public health crisis in a century,” Pohl said in a statement. “In the past 24 hours, nearly 2,000 people were diagnosed with coronavirus and 62 Michiganders died.”
Pohl said that public health officials helped create the order, one of the strongest in the United States, to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.
“We appreciate the input we’ve received from the legislature and will review these requests,” he said. “The governor’s number one priority remains protecting the health and safety of the people of Michigan.”
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.
Photo “Michigan Capitol” by Brian Charles Watson. CC BY-SA 3.0.