Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says recent COVID-19 spikes have delayed moving state to phase 5
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer told FOX 2 on Tuesday that she hoped to move the rest of the state into phase 5 this week but recent spikes in cases have caused her to wait a bit longer before making that move.
In an interview with FOX 2's Tim Skubick, Whitmer said she had hoped the move the state into phase 5 this week, a week ahead of her 4th of July schedule. However, she cited several recent spikes in cases, including in Ingham County, as a reason to slow down a little bit longer.
"Right now, the numbers in most parts of the state have continued to look strong. There are a few blips that we are keeping our eye very close on. My hope was to move the rest of the state into phase 5 by the 4th of July - my hope was to do it this week. We're not going to do it this week," Gov. Whitmer said. "We're not in a position to do that yet, we've got to get more data."
The governor did not specify if the move will also be delayed past the 4th of July.
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In Ingham County, she cited reports that as many as 14 people who were at a single bar in the past few weeks in East Lansing have now tested positive for COVID-19. Whitmer said there were spikes in Midland, where people were helping recover from the floods in May, and in Traverse City as well.
Moving into Phase 5 means more businesses are allowed to reopen, such as theaters, indoor gyms, personal services, and overnight camps. Two regions of Michigan, the Traverse City region and the Upper Peninsula, had previously been in Phase 5 for several weeks.
On a scale of 1 to 10 on how worried she is about more cases, Gov. Whitmer said she is at "a consistent 8".
"People have been feeling cooped up. They are eager to get outside - this is a beautiful time of year in Michigan - they are eager to celebrate, whether it's Memorial Day, 4th of July, or whether it's just the summer together. And yet, it's really really important that we continue to keep our guard up," she said.
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Whitmer said it was okay to dine in at restaurants but to keep wearing a mask when you're not eating. She also suggested customers tip their servers as they've been out of work for some time.
The governor also spoke to Skubick about other topics including Black Lives Matter protests and said that both COVID-19 and racism in the country both disproportionately affect black people.
"What we're seeing in this country is the convergence of two things that have disproportionately impacted the African American community," she said. "In this country, we have a long history around the disparate impact of policing and tactics and what it has meant for people of color. The footage of George Floyd and what happened to him has awakened a lot of people to the fact that people of color in America have a very different experience."