Fox News reports Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is facing backlash following an expansion to her state’s stay-at-home order that prohibits not just public gatherings, but private ones as well — regardless of size or family ties — in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Whitmer’s order says residents are now prohibited from visiting family or friends, with exceptions for providing care, as the state currently has the third-highest number of COVID-19 cases with upwards of 21,000.
“[A]ll public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring among persons not part of a single household are prohibited,” the order says. It also places restrictions on what types of businesses may operate and in what capacity, leading to criticism of the Democratic governor from state lawmakers.
“OUR Governor IS DESTROYING OUR HEALTH BY KILLING OUR LIVELIHOODS!” Republican State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey posted on Facebook, repeating the statement two more times in the same post “because I am obsessed with making sure everyone understands what’s happening.”
State House Speaker Lee Chatfield criticized the decision-making on which businesses were considered essential and which were not. Chatfield noted that liquor, marijuana, and lottery sales were still permitted, while lawn care, construction, and realtor services were restricted.
“Let’s be safe & reasonable. Right now, we’re not!” Chatfield tweeted.
The order’s restrictions on stores led Whitmer to issue a clarification document that explains – among other things – that residents can still purchase car seats for their children.
GOP State Rep. Michele Hoitenga posted on Facebook that Whitmer was going to “radical extremes” with her order, adding in a comment that she is “highly concerned about the mental health toll this is taking on everyone.”
State officials are not the only ones calling out Whitmer for supposedly going too far. Michigan congressman Justin Amash tweeted that the governor should “immediately reassess” the order, claiming it “goes too far and will erode confidence in her leadership.”
As a federal official, I do my best to stay out of state politics. But I have a constitutional duty to ensure states don’t trample on the rights of the people. @GovWhitmer’s latest order goes too far and will erode confidence in her leadership. She should immediately reassess it.
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) April 11, 2020
On top of the criticism from political figures, an online petition for Whitmer to be recalled has garnered more than 150,000 signatures.