Michigan Governor Threatens To Extend Stay-At-Home Order After Protest
Lansing, MI – Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said she might extend the state’s stay-at-home order in response to the mass protest held at the state capitol building on April 15.
Protesters descended on the capital to intentionally cause a gridlock in protest of the social distancing rules Whitmer had implemented in an effort to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
The Michigan Conservative Coalition (MCC) initiated the protest that spread like wildfire on social media under the hashtag “#OperationGridlock,” the Michigan Star reported.
"We are all concerned for those afflicted with COVID 19. Yes, many of the personal behaviors we have been reminded to use are good practices. Wash your hands. Cover your cough. Stay home if you are sick. That said, Michiganders are fed up!" MCC’s website read, according to WJBK.
Roads were packed by 9 a.m. for the noon protest on April 15, and traffic ground to a halt in Lansing by mid-morning.
Not everyone stayed in their cars once they arrived, though, according to WJBK.
Several people in attendance who were not social distancing told reporters that they did understand the health risks but that it was their right not to follow the governor’s order.
Whitmer addressed the protest during an interview with MSNBC on Thursday.
“When you see a… political rally like that where people aren’t wearing masks and they’re in close quarters and they are touching one another, you know that that’s precisely what makes this kind of a disease drag out and expose more people,” the governor said.
After converging in Lansing, protesters returned back to their homes throughout the state, thereby spreading the virus further, Whitmer declared.
“It’s that kind of irresponsible action that puts us in this situation where we might have to actually think about extending stay home orders, which is supposedly what they were protesting,” she told MSNBC.
During a briefing on Monday afternoon, Whitmer said that the next 10 days will help her to determine whether or not she will extend the stay-at-home order past its current scheduled expiration of April 30, WJBK reported.
As of Monday, 31,424 residents in Michigan had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and 2,391 had died, according to Bing’s COVID-19 Tracker.