Gov. Whitmer announces end to Michigan Covid-19 restrictions

Matthew Donnellon

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Today on June, 22nd, 2021 Michigan governor Gretcher Whitmer took the podium in a press conference to officially lift just about every Covid restriction that’s been in place the last year and half.

She announced, “We are now dropping the (epidemic) orders,” Whitmer said. “Effective today, there is no more mask or gathering order. Effective today, there are no more capacity limits indoors or outdoors. Effective today, our Pure Michigan summer is back, and we can realize it.”

For over a year Michiganders have been cloistered in their homes, and staying apart from those they loved, and now they moment they’ve been waiting for is here.

This summer won’t be like the last, spent inside watching Netflix, no now people are on the verge of going back to normal.

She remarked on how hard the last year has been to a small group gathered on Belle Isle. She spoke about how the last year created many challenges and that with the state opening back up, the economy will open up as well.

But the governor made it clear that if the cases start to climb then she did retain the authority to shut everything back down, ““I’ve told the Legislature I’m willing to have all sorts of conversations about improvements we can make to epidemic orders in the future,” Whitmer said. “It will probably never, ever, never have to be used again under my watch -- and I hope no governor in the short-term will ever have to even visit these powers.

“But if they do, they’re going to need to act swiftly to save lives, just as we did, and that’s why I’m going to make sure that governors going forward will have the ability to take action to save people’s lives.”

She also made sure that in the future it would be best for the state to not politicize emergencies, as during a crisis everyone is on the same side, “There’ll be a Republican governor in the future. There’ll be a Democratic governor in the future. Every governor before me had these abilities to take action if we needed to. Everyone after me should, as well, because the people of Michigan need their chief executive to act when their lives are on the line.”

The governor also mentioned the people that helped keep society going during the shut down, as well as measures the state is taking to recognize their service, “Last year, Michigan introduced the Futures For Frontliners program that offered tuition-free college to those who provided essential, frontline services during the pandemic. Whitmer said 85,000 have already been accepted, and more than 15,000 are currently enrolled in classes.”

She spoke about the danger they faced as well as expressing her gratitude for all they have done to help get Michigan through Covid-19, “Every day throughout this pandemic, our frontline workers woke up, they put on their masks, they got to work on behalf of their fellow Michiganders,” Whitmer said. “They saved and contributed to the saving of countless lives in our state. So it’s not just gratitude -- it’s opportunity [sic] that we want to create.

The governor also brought up Hero Pay, an idea she supports in which essential employees would get a bonus payment.

Also in the governor’s speech she talked about economic recovery and how they plan to help businesses recover after last year’s shut down, Whitmer plans on putting the $3.5 billion surplus the state has to work, “This is a plan to boost wages to at least $15 per hour by giving businesses grants to cover the difference between the wage they pay and $15 for the next three months. This is an investment of $1.4 billion, in addition, and childcare -- so to boost this industry so that we can pay providers and childcare professionals more, make 150,000 more kids in our state eligible for no-cost or low-cost childcare and give all student-parents enrolled in Reconnect or Futures For Frontliners access to free or reduced-cost childcare.”

The governor closed by acknowledging the progress Michiganders have made with regard to vaccinations, but that she would still like to hit the original goal of getting 70% of adults vaccinated and urged people to still get vaccinated if they hadn’t done so.

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Matthew Donnellon is a writer, artist, and sit down comedian. He is the author of The Curious Case of Emma Lee and Other Stories

Detroit, MI
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