‘No longer required to stay home’: Michigan Gov. Whitmer rolls back coronavirus restrictions

Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has maintained one of the strictest coronavirus lockdown policies in the U.S. This week, however, she has announced the restrictions will be partially lifted.

According to Fox News, Whitmer confirmed that she would be incrementally scaling back the stay-at-home orders that have limited the capacity of many businesses and public events.

“Continue to be smart”

“While Michiganders are no longer required to stay home, we must all continue to be smart and practice social distancing, and encourage those who meet the criteria to get tested for COVID-19,” the governor said.

Though more lenient, many guidelines remain in effect. For example, restaurants will be permitted to offer dine-in service, but seating will be limited. Customers will be able to enter retail establishments without an appointment under the new order.

While Whitmer has not yet allowed indoor fitness facilities to resume operation, gyms will be allowed to hold outdoor classes and activities. Certain businesses, including hair salons and theaters, will remain closed.

Limits on social gatherings will also be loosened, with the number of permitted attendees growing from 10 to 100.

The policies initially enacted to limit the spread of the coronavirus were met with some backlash, including by protesters who descended on the state’s Capitol to express their opposition.

“Way in over her head”

Whitmer also attracted opprobrium when reports emerged that her husband attempted to get special treatment by dropping her name in a conversation with a boat launch operator. She has since described it as a failed attempt at humor.

President Donald Trump has included her in a group of Democratic governors he has criticized for their response to the pandemic.

“I love Michigan, one of the reasons we are doing such a GREAT job for them during this horrible Pandemic,” Trump tweeted in March. “Yet your Governor, Gretchen ‘Half’ Whitmer is way in over her head, she doesn’t have a clue. Likes blaming everyone for her own ineptitude!”

She hit back last month after Trump said he would withhold federal funding for the state if it offered widespread mail-in voting in response to the coronavirus threat. She called his threat “scary” and “unacceptable.”

Although it might have taken longer than Trump and some Michiganders would have preferred, Whitmer’s latest update is further evidence that the economy is starting to creep in the right direction across the country.

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