Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has threatened to extend the stay-at-home order in response to protesters who rallied against it at the state’s capital on Wednesday.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Gov. Whitmer slammed the protests as “irresponsible” and warned that “we might have to actually think about extending stay-at-home orders, which is supposedly what they were protesting.”
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“When you see a, you know, a political rally — that’s what it was yesterday — a political rally like that, where people aren’t wearing masks, and they’re in close quarters, and they’re touching one another, you know that that’s precisely what makes this kind of a disease drag out and expose more people,” Whitmer said.
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Yahoo News reports: The protest, called “Operation Gridlock,” was organized by conservative groups arguing that Whitmer’s order, which bans travel between homes and closes down non-essential businesses, is too strict. As of Wednesday night, Michigan had more than 28,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and the death toll stands at 1,921. The stay-at-home rules were enacted to prevent the COVID-19 outbreak from overwhelming the state’s hospitals
Some demonstrators wore masks to cover their faces, but those who didn’t posed a major health risk to those around them, Whitmer told reporters. “We know that this demonstration is going to come at a cost to people’s health,” she said. “The sad irony of the protest is that they don’t like to be in this stay-at-home order, but they might have just created a need to lengthen it.”
Whitmer also said that while she understands their frustrations, she was disappointed to learn that an ambulance was stuck in the gridlock caused by the protest. “I know that people are angry, and that’s okay, and if you want to, take it out and send it my way,” she told the protesters. “I urge you, don’t put yourself at risk and don’t put others at risk, either.”