Michigan COVID-19 economic recovery group warns about new closures

Industry-led council appointed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says residents of Michigan are not doing enough to contain pandemic.

Gerry Anderson, the executive chairman of DTE Energy and co-chair of the Michigan Economic Recovery Council, has said actions of Michiganders that ignore scientific recommendations for slowing the spread of COVID-19 are risking a return to more business restrictions and previous shutdowns.

“Our hope is we can have moves related to people’s behaviors before we have to do things like regress economic activity further,” Anderson told MLive. “I really believe this is in the personal realm and the social realm now. If we don’t make changes in those realms, you’re left with blunter tools, and you don’t want to get to the blunter tools.”

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In early June, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer moved the entire state into phase four of a six-phase plan to return the state to normal operations. Phase four means the trend of cases in the state is “improving”.

Whitmer allowed a crucial phase five measure to be implemented, however, relaxing rules for bars and restaurants, which have been partially blamed for the rising caseloads of late.

Anderson said the state is now at risk of going back to phase three, where the focus of state regulations is “flattening” a slowly rising bubble of cases.

The council, which includes other business executives, health care officials, academics, and union leaders, is urging people to wear masks and maintain social distancing.