Barrett responds to governor’s extension of ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ order

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Tom Barrett said Thursday that Gov. Whitmer’s extension of her “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order through April 30 threatens the rights and freedoms of Michiganders.

“Of course we must take appropriate precautions to stay safe,” said Barrett, R-Charlotte. “In addition, we needed to give our medical industry and hospitals time to ramp up for the needs of those affected by COVID-19.

“Yet we must also realize that most of our basic and fundamental rights have been suspended and our ability to earn a living has been affected. We will never eliminate all risk, and we have to allow the people of this state to begin to make their own decisions about the risks presented by this virus.

“Many businesses could reopen today with very reasonable precautions around hygiene and distancing, and this would allow us to begin the process of returning to normal life. Unfortunately, the governor has even refused to allow single-operator lawn care services to be performed under this far-reaching order. Many elderly and disabled residents of our state contract for this service to keep their yards clean and free of harmful pests.

“In addition, the governor has unilaterally and without the consent of the Legislature forced businesses to close down their garden centers within the few stores that are allowed to remain open. Many of my constituents rely on gardening to provide nourishing food to their families and livestock throughout the year.”

On Thursday, the governor issued Executive Order 2020-42, extending Stay Home, Stay Safe through April 30.

Many lawmakers were hoping she would make some concessions to aid an economy that is reeling.

Under the order, you may not leave the home to work unless your employer designates you as a critical infrastructure worker; you may not participate in any public gatherings; and you may not visit someone in the hospital, a nursing home, or any other residential care facilities (with limited exceptions).

For information about COVID-19 and the state’s response to the pandemic, visit Michigan.gov/Coronavirus. The state has also launched a hotline about COVID-19. Residents with any questions about the virus can call 1-888-535-6136 between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily.