Governor won’t rule out extending COVID “pause”

Rules issued two weeks ago closed many businesses for three weeks. The governor hasn't ruled out extending the restrictions past December 8 if numbers don't improve.

One week from today, COVID-19 rules issued by the state’s health department are set to expire. But state leaders could extend them if infection, transmission, and death numbers continue to increase.

The regulations, enacted on November 18, put a halt on in-person classes for high school and college students, limited gathering sizes, and closed many bars and restaurants in the state. The restrictions are set to expire after December 8.

What happened: During a Tuesday press conference, Governor Gretchen Whitmer was repeatedly questioned about whether COVID-19 restrictions would be extended beyond three weeks. Whitmer refused to speculate about the possibility.

“At this point in time, it’s really too early to say precisely where we will be in a few days, much less next week,” she said. “But I think it’s important for people to know, we’ve not predetermined anything.”

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As of Tuesday, Michigan is averaging 91 deaths and 6,534 new infections per day, coming close to or surpassing numbers reached during the first wave of the pandemic in April.

The governor can’t actually issue emergency orders after a state Supreme Court ruling in October. However, the state’s Department of Health and Human Services can issue public health orders within specific parameters and has done so several times during the pandemic.

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