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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday signed an executive order to extend the state’s stay-at-home order through the end of May for nonessential workers while allowing for manufacturing workers to resume work next week.

Whitmer’s executive order comes a day after state lawmakers filed a lawsuit to compel her to reopen the economy following her extension of the state’s coronavirus emergency declaration. The lawsuit capped off weeks of protests that featured armed demonstrators at the state Capitol.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks in Lansing, Mich., Monday, May 4, 2020.  (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP)

Despite frustration over an economy in freefall, the Democratic governor cautioned that Michigan is “not out of the woods yet, but this is an important step forward on our MI Safe Start plan to re-engage our economy safely and responsibly.”

“As we continue to phase in sectors of our economy, I will keep working around the clock to ensure our businesses adopt best practices to protect workers from the spread of COVID-19,” she said. “When we all keep doing our part, we can reduce the risk of a second wave and re-engage our economy safely and responsibly.”

Under Thursday’s extension -- Whitmer’s fourth overall -- manufacturing facilities are required to implement safety measures that protect their workers from COVID-19. Workers and all other personnel entering a manufacturing facility must have their temperature screened and answer questions regarding symptoms and exposure to people possibly carrying the virus. Facilities must establish dedicated entry points and prohibit all nonessential in-person visits and tours.

Among manufacturers allowed to resume work on Monday are Michigan’s Big 3 auto companies.

The order’s extension through May 28 means that Michiganders cannot leave their home except “to run critical errands, to engage in safe outdoor activities or go to specified jobs.”

All businesses must require their workers to wear masks when they cannot maintain at least 6 feet of separation.


Whitmer drew national attention last month for enacting some of the strictest measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Many protesters claimed that the governor overstepped her authority by temporarily banning most travel between homes, sales of items such as garden supplies and activities including some types of fishing.

Protesters rally at the State Capitol in Lansing, Mich.  (AP)

During a Saturday appearance on “Fox & Friends Weekend,” Michigan resident Jodie Brown said people across the state are increasingly frustrated by coronavirus lockdown orders executed by Whitmer.

"We're asking our government to work together," Brown said. "We elected these people to represent us so we can have representation. And, we are at a point where we can't continue to be locked down. ... The information we are getting is very confusing. People are really suffering and it's time that we get back to work."


As of Thursday, Michigan has recorded at least 45,646 cases of the coronavirus with 4,343 deaths, according to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins University.

Fox News’ Louis Casiano and Julia Musto contributed to this report.