by Scott McClallen
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-127 to extend Michigan’s state of emergency through July 16.
The first-term Democrat initially declared an emergency on March 10, 100 days ago, to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Most governors have continued states of emergency so they can issue executive orders that prevent evictions and grant other unilateral powers that aren’t accessible during times of peace.
Those orders will become void once the state of emergency concludes.
“The aggressive measures we took at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic have worked to flatten the curve, but there is still more to be done to prevent a second wave,” Whitmer said in a statement.
“We owe it to the heroes on the front lines to keep doing our part by wearing a mask when in public and practicing social distancing. Now is not the time to get complacent. We must continue to stay vigilant and flexible in order to reduce the chance of a second wave.”
The GOP-led legislature sued to declare Whitmer’s emergency powers void, claiming they violate state law. Republicans have said that Whitmer won’t work with them or show the data used for crafting executive orders that resulted in 2.2 million unemployment claims.
Whitmer contends her actions saved lives, pointing to a website led by epidemiologists that marks Michigan as one of two states that is “on track to contain COVID.”
The governor on Wednesday called attempts to strip away her powers “irresponsible, dangerous and foolish.”
Whitmer has allowed businesses to gradually reopen with safety precautions, as the number of daily COVID-19 deaths has decreased.
The coronavirus has killed 5,818 people in Michigan, one-third of whom were nursing home residents.
The respiratory disease disproportionately impacted the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. Nearly 70 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the state were people ages 70 or older.
If COVID-19 cases continue to trend downward, Whitmer said she plans to move the state into phase 5 by July 4, which would allow businesses, including gyms and movie theaters, to open statewide.
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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.