A press conference at the state capitol Wednesday has bar and restaurant owners feeling nauseous. Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Medical Executive Joneigh Kaldun announced an extension to the indoor dining ban which has been in place since November. The prohibition will remain in effect until at least February 1st.
Governor Whitmer tried to soften the blow by highlighting work of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to get relief funds to businesses and employees who desperately need it. State Representative Greg Markkanen, from Hancock, says the governor’s philosophy of providing for citizens rather than letting them earn a living is the problem.
Markkanen expressed frustration at the continuing extensions of the Epidemic Order. He says that what could be prudent policy for urban areas like Metro Detroit or Grand Rapids is unnecessary for the smaller towns and cities of the Upper Peninsula.
COVID-19 infection rates are significantly below levels seen in November when the order went into effect. That pattern has been consistent across Midwestern states, but the Whitmer administration says its policies have kept infection rates significantly below Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin and others.