Gov. Whitmer Cautiously Optimistic Reviewing COVID-19 Case Data
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the state health department addressed the state on Tuesday.
“Our numbers are better than all of our Midwestern neighbors, these numbers are encouraging….so I’m asking everyone to continue what we’re doing. Stay home for the New Year, maybe get some takeout, support your local businesses,” Whitmer said.
Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun agreed, saying “We are cautiously optimistic about the data….but it’s important to not get complacent…it only takes one gathering for it to spread through multiple households.”
Whitmer urged the Michigan legislature to pass mandatory mask wearing in public.
“Studies have shown that these actions work,” she said.
But Michigan lawmakers will not be in session until Jan. 13.
Before the press conference, she signed a 106 million bipartisan MI COVID Relief Plan that she says will provide families with the recourses they need. $55 million is going to help small businesses. $45 million is going to be for direct payments to those laid off because of COVID-19. And she signed an extension of unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks.
But she line item vetoed any items not subject to negotiated agreement, which included a $220 million giveaway of taxpayer money to the employer-owned Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, which helps business fund benefits for workers that have been laid off. She said money from the general fund should be used for essential services, like vaccines and PPE, not as a tax break for big businesses.
Whitmer also addressed the current stimulus bill passed at the federal level and its proposed $2,000 extension to stimulus checks that’s being voted on by the House Tuesday.
She said the state will work as quickly as it can to get benefits out.
And she closed with encouragement that “All Michiganders have a role to play, masking up, social distancing, supporting small businesses and avoiding large gatherings…make 2021 a great year.”
Dr. Khaldun encouraged Michiganders to try creative ways to ring in the New Year, like video calls. And she emphasized the importance of testing and pointed Michiganders to resources at the state level on michigan.gov/Coronavirus.