Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and her health department are leaving the door open to new coronavirus orders as school districts are defying their demands to mandate universal mask wearing in schools this fall.
In an interview with MIRS News, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director (MDHHS) Elizabeth Hertel said she would not “rule out” new restrictions and indicated that new restrictions could be made in the near future.
“That’s a determination that needs to be made as the virus continues to spread across the state,” she told MIRS.
Students are poised to return to classrooms in the coming weeks, and Whitmer’s administration has sought to pressure school boards and local health departments into issuing orders so her administration can be relieved of imposing politically unpopular regulations, especially after she has already declared victory over the virus.
“Gov. Whitmer’s lockdown orders have already decimated Michigan’s economy and put hundreds of thousands of our friends and neighbors in the unemployment line — the last thing families need are more unilateral, anti-science restrictions,” Michigan Freedom Fund Executive Director Tori Sachs said in a statement.
“This isn’t the first time Whitmer and Hertel have flipped positions. Michigan’s economy is already last in the Midwest and nearly last in the entire nation. Time after time Whitmer and those close to her haven’t followed their own rules and restrictions. It’s clear Whitmer and her team think they’re in a special class where the rules are for the working class and not for them. No more,” Sachs added.
Sachs said in another statement that Gov. Whitmer has been focused on “political science” and “making rules that she refuses to follow.” Sachs continued that, “No new mandates should be imposed because they are not backed by anything other than politics, which has been Whitmer’s focus this entire time.”
Whitmer has previously blamed legislative Republicans and the state Supreme Court for restricting her powers to issue orders, though that has not stopped MDHHS from imposing mandates.
Last week, the governor was asked if she would issue new orders, and four times sidestepped the question. In response to asking Whitmer why she hasn’t mandated masks, she replied that, “At this point, we’re seeing a lot of districts moving forward and adopting mask policies and that’s the right thing to do.”
To date, only three out of Michigan’s 56 school districts are implementing universal masking policies, defying the governor’s wishes. The three that are mandating masks, Kalamazoo, Allegan, and Genesee counties, are only mandating them for elementary students from kindergarten through sixth grade. The vast majority are making them optional, leaving the decision to parents.
Democrat pollster Bernie Porn told WLNS that Whitmer will follow the public opinion – but apparently not science – in making a decision about future mandates.
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