Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to update state on COVID-19 after extending state of emergency through May 28

Late Friday afternoon Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced she is loosening some of the stay home/stay safe restrictions.

Beginning May 7, the following will be permitted: construction work, real estate activities and work that is primarily and traditionally performed outdoors, she said.

Whitmer continues to slowly re-engage sectors of the economy. She likens it to turning a dial, rather than flipping a switch. But as more people gradually go back to work, the fear of contracting COVID-19 is a real concern for many Michiganders.

"I've already also signed an executive order to prohibit businesses from retaliating against workers who are afraid to go to work, or whom want to stay home to protect themselves and their families for fear that they have been exposed."

It's been less than two months since the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic. In that time Michigan has had more than 42,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 3,800 coronavirus related deaths.

Despite those numbers, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state's chief medical executive, says we are flattening the curve in Michigan.

"Please continue to have patience, and diligently continue to practice social distancing to protect yourself and the community," she said. "You can go outside and enjoy the beautiful weather but wear a mask if you are going to the grocery store and maintain at least a six feet distance between yourself and other. Remember to continue to practice good personal hygiene like washing your hands frequently."

The state of emergency order is in place until May 28th and the stay home/stay safe order remains in effect until May 15th.

"You should still not leave your home unless it's critical, to run errands and go to the grocery store or the pharmacy," Whitmer said. "To engage in safe outdoor activities or if you are going to work in one of the lower risk fields."

And while Whitmer knows many people are frustrated and believe her orders are too restrictive.

"I think we're unanimous in that we all want to re-engage this economy safely," she said. "So we never have to be in a stay home stay safe order again."

Also on Thursday Whitmer signed an executive order regarding clarification on the existing school year defining remote learning guidelines for K-12 and early childhood learning.

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Gov. Whitmer first signed a state of emergency on March 10, the day the first two cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Michigan. 

On April 1, she extended for another 30 days and also formally declared a state of disaster for the entire state of Michigan. 

The declared state of emergency allowed the state to purchase health-related items without a bid.