Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extends stay home order, opens manufacturing, announces phased reopening

In a press conference on Thursday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer discussed the latest COVID-19 news in Michigan and said the Stay Home, Stay Safe order will be extended until May 28, manufacturing can start to reopen on May 11th, and a six-phase plan to reopen the state.

Gov. Whitmer held the Thursday afternoon press conference after extending eligibility for unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic late Wednesday.

During her Thursday press conference, she said the state is continuing to flatten the curve and, because of several positive signs from Michigan numbers, manufacturing jobs can start to resume work on Monday, May 11th.

Additionally, she said the Stay Home, Stay Safe order was extended until May 28th, the fourth time she the stay-at-home order. The new order will extend until May 28 but will allow employees in manufacturing to return to the job.

Whitmer unveiled a six-phase approach to return to 'normal' that residents of the state will need to follow as we continue to fight the virus.

The phases of the pandemic include:

  1. UNCONTROLLED GROWTH: The increasing number of new cases every day, overwhelming our health systems. 
  2. PERSISTENT SPREAD: We continue to see high case levels with concern about health system capacity. 
  3. FLATTENING: The epidemic is no longer increasing and the health-system's capacity is sufficient for current needs. 
  4. IMPROVING: Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are clearly declining. 
  5. CONTAINING: Continued case and death rate improvements, with outbreaks quickly contained. 
  6. POST-PANDEMIC: Community spread not expected to return. 

Currently, Michigan is in the flattening phase and if we continue to maintain social distancing, we will move into the improving phase soon.

Read more about the six phases here.

Late in the day on Wednesday, Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-76 expedites benefits for tens of thousands of Michiganders who have filed for unemployment benefits by allowing the state to review an individual’s most recent job separation, which is the cause of the current unemployment, to determine the individual's benefit entitlement. 

“Nobody should have to worry about how to put food on the table or pay their bills, especially during a crisis. Michiganders everywhere have lost work because of COVID-19, and we must ensure they receive the benefits they’re entitled to as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Governor Whitmer said. “This Executive Order will take us one step closer toward that goal by temporarily eliminating red tape as we continue to flatten the curve of this deadly disease.” 

The Executive Order also extends Executive Order 2020-57, which: 

  • Expands the state’s workshare program, offering more tools to employers to reduce layoffs and restart their business
  • Extends unemployment benefits to workers: 
  • Who have an unanticipated family care responsibility.
  • Who are sick, quarantined, or immunocompromised and who do not have access to paid family and medical leave or are laid off
  • Extends unemployment benefits to workers who voluntarily left a job after accepting new employment but were unable to start their new position due to the pandemic. 
  • Allows anyone with an active unemployment claim to receive up to 26 weeks of benefits
  • Suspends the requirement for individuals seeking unemployment to request a registration and work search waiver from their employer
  • Allows Unemployment Insurance Agency retirees to keep their retirement benefits if they return to work to process unemployment claims or serve on the Occupational Health and Safety Commission
  • Expands cost-sharing with employers to reduce layoffs

The current stay-home directive is in place at least through May 15. An order closing places of public accommodation and limiting restaurants to pickup and delivery is in effect through May 28.

Also today, construction work resumed in Michigan.