Whitmer on Trump: "This is a moment that calls for unity" | Michigan Radio
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Whitmer on Trump: "This is a moment that calls for unity"

Jun 1, 2020

Credit State of Michigan

Governor Gretchen Whitmer describes comments made by President Donald Trump during a phone call with the nation’s governors Monday as "dangerous."

The call focused on weekend protests that turned violent.

On the call the president derided the nation's governors as "weak" and demanded tougher crackdowns on protesters.

Whitmer says the president’s comments run counter to the need to bring the “temperature down.”

“I fear that it will only lead to more violence and destruction, and we must reject that way of thinking. This is a moment that calls for empathy, and humanity, and unity,” she said.

President Trump has repeatedly attacked Whitmer’s job performance as Michigan’s governor, especially since she has been talked about as a potential Vice Presidential candidate.

Whitmer also announced Monday that bars and restaurants in Michigan will be allowed to re-open next week, but with new restrictions. More office workers will be allowed to return to work. Customers will be allowed to visit car dealerships and other retailers without an appointment starting Thursday.

Whitmer signed a new executive order Monday allowing more businesses to resume operating – as long as they take precautions to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

“May was hard. April was hard. The last part of March was, as well," Whitmer said. "We don’t want to repeat this in the fall, so please, take your role seriously, and keep doing your part.”

Whitmer says it may take two or three weeks to take the next steps, and that will depend on how this stage of re-engagement works.

“No one wants to move backwards, but if we see a spike coming, we may have to. So keep doing your part.”

The governor said she is concerned by behavior she’s seen by many protestors who’ve filled the streets without wearing masks and standing too close to each other. 

“But let me be very clear – the threat of the disease has not gone away. There’s no vaccine. There’s no anti-viral treatment. And we do not expect to have one for several months. And just one person can still infect many, many more people,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan's Chief Medical Executive, said.

Outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people will be allowed. Bars and restaurants will have to cut their seating in half, and ensure at least six feet of distance between customers.

Businesses that will have to remain closed include barbers and hair salons, where Whitmer says it’s harder to maintain conditions to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.

There's also good news for Michiganders with a growing mountain of returnable cans and bottles in their homes.

Starting June 15, the state Treasury Department says some retailers must re-open their bottle return facilities and resume the collection of returnable beverage containers and refund of customer bottle deposits.

Bottle returns have been on hold since March as part of the state’s COVID-19 response.

Michigan insurance regulators are also ordering all auto insurers in Michigan to issue refunds or premium waivers to consumers.

Officials say insurance companies have seen reduced risk due to extreme reductions in driving during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor says this order will provide some much-needed relief to drivers.

The order gives insurers until June Tenth to submit filings that include the refund or premium waiver amount and how consumers will receive payments.

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