by Scott McClallen
U.S. Rep. Justin Amash says Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s recent executive order “goes too far and will erode confidence in her leadership.”
The libertarian is referencing Whitmer’s extended and expanded executive order that banned Michiganders from traveling to a second residence inside the state through April 30, operating a motorized boat and buying furniture, paint and plants from stores larger than 50,000 square feet.
That includes the “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” pillows in one Lansing Walmart.
But residents can still buy lottery tickets.
Amash tweeted that he believes Whitmer means well but, “People will not long tolerate extraordinary restrictions on liberty that contribute so little to safety.”
“The governor needs to allow communities and businesses to establish safety procedures based on actual conditions,” he wrote in his Saturday letter. “Not every place has the same risks, and it’s not good governance, good health science, or good economics to pretend they do.”
As of Sunday, the state reported 24,638 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,487 deaths.
Those cases are concentrated in Metro Detroit.
- Oakland County: 4,915 cases, 329 deaths
- Macomb County: 3,254 cases, 217 deaths
- Wayne County, counting Detroit: 11,164 cases, 704 deaths
The other 80 counties’ cases range in number from 955 to zero, state data says, but the executive order doesn’t distinguish circumstances by county. Excluding the above three counties, Michigan reports 5,306 confirmed cases and 237 deaths.
Whitmer didn’t adopt the most recent Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) guidelines, which would have allowed more businesses to get back to work.
House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R- Levering, advocated for either switching job classification to “safe vs unsafe” jobs or adopting updated CISA guidelines.
“We can both protect public health & take a step towards recovery,” he tweeted. “They’re not mutually exclusive.”
“Of the 26 states that are currently utilizing CISA, 20 are using the most recent guidelines. Michigan is an outlier & it’s holding our state back unnecessarily,” Chatfield continued. “We can take COVID-19 seriously, protect public health and be more data-driven. These two options allow for that.”
Whitmer on Thursday explained why she rejected exemptions for landscapers and golf courses, which Republicans said could operate while following social distancing guidelines.
“I think it’s important to be clear that while we can come up with all sorts of scenarios where we can come up with an argument that someone’s safe in whatever activity it is they want to do, every single exception to a stay home stay safe order makes this more porous and makes it less likely to work,” Whitmer said.
Amash warned the executive order could bring “unintended and undesired consequences,” singling out the rules that reduced store capacity.
Stores smaller than 50,000 square feet are limited to 25 percent of total capacity, while stores larger than 50,000 square feet can only have four people per 1,000 square feet of customer floor space.
“For example, while she understandably doesn’t want too many people inside stores, a blanket limit may create long lines outside, which will put people in closer contact with one another,” Amash wrote.
The independent isn’t alone in pushing back against the order.
Critics complained about the governor’s order on social media over the weekend, causing #ImpeachWhitmer to trend on Twitter.
More than 150,000 people have signed a petition to recall Whitmer.
More than 250,000 people joined the Facebook group “Michiganders Against Excessive Quarantine.”
There are at least two protests planned: Operation Gridlock, a car-based protest at noon Wednesday near the Capitol, and another on April 30.
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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.
Photos “Rep. Justin Amash” by Rep. Justin Amash and “Gov Gretchen Whitmer” is by Gov. Whitmer.