Michigan Court of Claims Judge, Cynthia Stephens, tossed the lawsuit filed by GOP lawmakers that challenged Governor Whitmer’s use of emergency powers. While legal experts were not surprised by Judge Stephen’s declaration, Republicans have pledged to appeal it. Judge Stephens decided that Whitmer’s actions were within her authority under the Emergency Powers of Governor Act of 1945. The 1945 law does not set a time limit on a state of emergency, nor does it make any provisions for Legislative oversight. However Judge Stephens did side with GOP lawmakers’ argument that Governor Whitmer overstepped her power when citing the 1976 Emergency Management Act to re-declare a state of emergency in late April without support from the Legislature.
Governor Whitmer announced that she is lifting portions of her earlier stay-at-home order and reopening more parts of Michigan’s economy. People will be allowed to engage in gatherings of no more than 10 people, as long as they continue to adhere with social distancing guidelines and wear face protection in enclosed areas. Retail businesses and auto showrooms across the state can reopen on May 26 by appointment only for customers. This did not include bars or enclosed dine-in restaurants. Non-emergency dental services, nonessential medical procedures, and veterinary services can begin again on May 29. Gyms, theaters, libraries, bars, restaurants, and other public entertainment facilities will still remain closed. Governor Whitmer is expected to extend Michigan’s stay-at-home order soon.
The Centers of Disease Control has released some tough “guidelines” for schools to reopen in the fall. These include keeping students’ belongings separated, keeping buses at 25% capacity, keeping desks 6 feet apart, and face coverings for all students. The CDC received plenty of backlash on social media from parents due to these guidelines. Paula Herbart, head of the Michigan Education Association, expects to see COVID-19 guidelines in schools, however she says there simply isn’t enough space, buses, or staff to implement the CDC’s suggestions. It is important to note that the CDC’s guidelines are not requirements, they are recommendations.
President Trump visited a Ford plant in Ypsilanti yesterday (5/21), and interest was high in whether he would wear a face covering or not. While it was reported that President Trump did indeed wear a mask during the plant tour, he chose not to wear a mask in front of the public. This started a heated battle between himself and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. Nessel had tough words for the president on CNN after the Ford tour, referring to Trump as a petulant child who refuses to follow the rules. It sparked a late night twitter battle between the two.
Trump tweeted first, “Do nothing AG of the Great State of Michigan, Dana Nessel, should not be taking her anger and stupidity out on Ford Motor – they might get upset with you and leave the state, like so many other companies have – until I came along and brough business back to Michigan. JOBS!” Nessel responded shortly afterwards, “After struggling with our Gov & SOS, I’m impressed you know my name. Seems like you have a problem with all 3 women who run MI-as well as your ability to tell the truth. The auto industry has been thriving for years bc of our incredible auto workers & companies.”
The Transportation Security Administration has announced updated security procedures to be implemented across the country in response to COIVD-19. Travelers will be allowed ONE container of hand sanitizer up to 12 ounces. Travelers will be expected to place their boarding passes on the electronic reader instead of handing it to a TSA agent. Travelers are expected to put their carry-on food items in a clear plastic bag and place them in a bin for x-ray screening to reduce the need for TSA agents to closely inspect food items. All TSA agents will wear face coverings, and travelers are asked to as well. And the TSA expects passengers to adhere to social distancing guidelines as much as possible. Extra visual reminders will be posted to help.
Republicans are working out plans to phase out coronavirus-related unemployment benefits to encourage Americans to go back to work. Rep. Kevin Brady of the House Ways and Means Committee reported that, “Republicans and the White House are reaching consensus on the need for redesigning the unemployment benefits so they are not a barrier to getting people back to work.” It is not clear when there will be jobs to return to. Please click here to read more.
Now that Governor Whitmer has loosened restrictions, groups of 10 or less people can gather together. Ryan Malosh, research scientist at the University of Michigan of Public Health, has some ways to minimize risk. Gathering outside is safer than inside an enclosed area. Keeping that 6ft distance is highly recommended. Keeping hand sanitizer on you is highly recommended. Avoid sharing too many things, especially food. Cases are still expected to go up as Michigan reopens; there is nearly a two-week delay between when the state makes changes and those changes are reflected in COVID-19 case numbers.
Visit the Oakland County website to view updated numbers on how your area has been affected by COVID-19. You can search the interactive map by clicking on your location, or typing in your zip code. Recent data shows a total of 8,125 cases in the county, and 945 deaths. That marks about 8 new cases and 10 more deaths within Oakland County in the last 24 hours.