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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended her stay-at-home order Friday to June 12, her fifth extension of a mandate that has put her at odds with Republican lawmakers and has been the subject of mounting criticism and anti-lockdown protests.
The order, called "Safer at Home," will extend temporary business closures and movement restrictions in an effort to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Whitmer also extended her state of emergency through June 19, WJBK-TV reported. In a statement, she said that while COVID-19 cases and deaths are declining, "we are not out of the woods yet."
"If we’re going to lower the chance of a second wave and continue to protect our neighbors and loved ones from the spread of this virus, we must continue to do our part by staying safer at home,” the Democrat Governor said.
“If we open too soon, thousands more could die and our hospitals will get overwhelmed," she said. "While we ﬁnally have more protective equipment like masks, we can’t run the risk of running low again. We owe it to the real heroes on the front lines of this crisis -- our first responders, health care workers and critical workers putting their lives on the line every day -- to do what we can ourselves to stop the spread of the virus.”
In recent days, she has relaxed the stay-at-home order -- in place since March -- to allow for social gatherings of 10 people or less and allowing retail businesses to reopen for appointment-only shopping. On Friday, businesses in the Upper Peninsula and other parts of the state were allowed to operate in a limited capacity, the news station reported.
The mandate comes at a time when many states have begun to reopen their economies. Some have eased their orders or lifted them entirely. In a tweet, Michigan Republican Party Chair Laura Cox criticized the timing of the extension.
"Not only is Gretchen Whitmer going around the state Legislature with her stay-at-home orders, but now she is sneaking around the people of Michigan by announcing an extension to her stay at home order after regular business hours on a holiday weekend," Cox tweeted. "The only thing she is trying to keep safe is her political career."
As of Friday, Michigan reported nearly 54,000 COVID-19 cases, including 5,518 deaths, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.