Dec 1, 2020

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript December 1

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript December 1
RevBlogTranscriptsCOVID-19 Briefing & Press Conference TranscriptsMichigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript December 1

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s December 1 coronavirus press conference. Read the full transcript of her COVID-19 news briefing speech here.

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Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (00:26)
Good afternoon. Today is Tuesday, December 1st. I am joined today by Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, our chief medical executive. We are now nearly two weeks into the MDHHS three week pause to save lives epidemic order. This epidemic order is geared toward stopping the spread by limiting indoor gatherings where COVID-19 can easily spread from person to person. This is the right thing to do, to protect our families, to protect our medical workers, and to protect small businesses from the virus. These steps are what public health experts say we need to take to avoid overwhelmed hospitals and death counts like we saw in the spring.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (01:15)
Earlier this year, Michigan emerged as a national leader in fighting COVID-19 and saving lives. We beat COVID-19 last time by listening to public health experts, and we can beat it again, but it’s going to take every one of us doing our part and working together, and it will take leaders from both sides of the aisle, working together in a bipartisan way to get it done.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (01:42)
Last week, I sent a letter to the Michigan legislature, wishing them a nice Thanksgiving with their families and asking them to join me in our work to defeat our common enemy. This is the most urgent public health emergency our state has faced in any of our lifetimes, and it demands our full, immediate and unified attention. In my letter to the legislature, I requested that they work with me on three key priorities during the few remaining session days of 2020.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (02:18)
The first is passing $100 million Michigan COVID relief plan. Week after week, we have been urging, the nation’s governors on both sides of the aisle, have been urging Congress and the White House to pass a bi-partisan and sign a bi-partisan relief bill so that we can provide for our families, protect our frontline workers, help our restaurants, support our educators, and give small businesses a hand during this tough time. But leaders at the federal level still have not been able to agree on a plan, and that’s why we need to take action at the state level. It’s crucial for us to come together now to pass a targeted, state based economic stimulus plan of up to $100 million that will provide direct financial support to the families and small businesses that have been hit hardest by this pandemic.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (03:20)
Michigan is facing a budget shortfall of up to a billion dollars next year. So we’ve got to make some hard choices. We’re right now prioritizing our families, our frontline, and small businesses, while avoiding spending too much on non-critical projects.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (03:40)
I also urged the legislature to pass a permanent extension of unemployment benefits. On the heels of the last recession, the legislature cut workers’ economic lifeline from 26 weeks to 20 weeks and let inflation whittle away the $362 maximum weekly benefit. Michigan’s benefits are in the bottom third in the nation and the lowest in the Great Lakes region.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (04:11)
Earlier this fall, I worked with legislators from both sides of the aisle to pass legislation that codified my executive orders to provide temporary extension of unemployment benefits to 26 weeks. But this legislation, unfortunately, expires at the end of this year. House Democrats have already drafted some bills to get this done. And just yesterday, they invited their Republican colleagues to join forces with them to protect unemployed Michiganders. If we don’t take this bi-partisan action now, thousands of Michiganders who are unemployed could lose benefits right after the holiday. Let’s work together and get this done.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (04:57)
Last, I urged lawmakers to pass legislation to protect public health. Since COVID-19 first showed up in Michigan, I’ve taken swift action to save lives and protect people. This virus has infected more than 350,000 Michiganders, and sadly it has taken the lives of over 9,000 people in our state. This virus, as I’ve said many times, doesn’t care if you are rich or you are poor, if you are young, or if you’re old, you’re a Trump Republican or a Biden Democrat. And then that’s why it’s so important that we focus on the fact that we are all Michiganders and our common enemy is this virus. And we need to work together to save lives.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (05:41)
That means passing legislation to require masks in public places, to receive bipartisan support, this policy would greatly improve compliance, would help our law enforcement, and it would slow the spread of COVID and support our businesses. I want to acknowledge representative Tommy Brann for standing up in favor of this policy. As a small business owner, I know he has a unique perspective here.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (06:11)
And as federal coronavirus relief funds expire at the end of the year, I’ve urged the legislature to work with me, to focus spending on direct public health costs like hospital overflow, staffing needs, testing, PPE, and mitigating the spread of COVID in our prisons and congregate care settings, in our veterans homes, adult foster care, and nursing homes.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (06:39)
In the absence of federal funding, we also need funding to begin preparations for vaccine distribution and administration. So we, as the state, need to step up and make this a priority now, so we’re ready when the vaccines are available.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (06:56)
We must also work to support our schools. Our public schools have played a critical role within our communities since the onset of this pandemic. They not only have continued to provide learning opportunities for our students in whatever manner is available, but they have stepped up to provide food, emotional support, and other critically needed services that help countless students and their families across Michigan. The work of our school administrators, our teachers, and support staff over the past year has been critical in helping students find as much normalcy as possible, enabling parents to return to work and our economy to begin to recover. But our school officials are scrambling to make ends meet. Providing some support for them is going to take a commitment at every level of government. That means the bi-partisan recovery package at the federal level to help our schools.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (07:56)
The nature of this virus demands that we all work together to protect the people that we serve. We cannot wait to get it done. Yesterday, my administration announced the Pure Michigan Small Business Relief Initiative. This program will put $10 million of Cares Act dollars to use, to award grants of $15,000 to Michigan small businesses that have been hit particularly hard by COVID-19. Businesses will be able to apply for grants starting December 15th. It’s first come, first serve, so small business owners, mark your calendars for December 15th. And to determine whether your business is eligible, please visit the MEDC website.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (08:45)
As we head into the holiday season. I want to remind all Michiganders, if you are shopping for loved ones or friends or neighbors, consider, strongly consider, supporting businesses in your community.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (09:01)
Last week, the MEDC launched the Support Local campaign, reminding Michiganders to shop small during the holidays and throughout the winter months. There are a number of ways that we can support local businesses this season and stay safe. Buy your holiday gifts from small businesses that you love or find online in your area. I, for one, have sent Detroit Basket Company gift baskets to my sister and her family in New York. They’re going to have burners and Faygo and better made chips and a lot of other good stuff. I also ordered a bunch of candles from Kalamazoo Candle Company that I’ll be given to people. I went shopping at October Moon in old town Lansing. And you can help a small business restaurant by ordering and buying gift cards for loved ones. My brother is getting a [Crunchies 00:09:58] gift card. I encourage you all to seek out small businesses here in Michigan and give them-

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (10:03)
… To seek out small businesses here in Michigan and give them your business and treat your loved ones to a cool Michigan gift. Our small businesses are truly the lifeblood of our communities and we must do everything we can to help them and to support them.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (10:18)
I’ve spoken to people all across Michigan about the impact of COVID-19, about the immensity of the impact of COVID-19 on them, their families and their businesses. My job is to work on behalf of all 10 million people in the state and I’m committed to making sure that your voice is heard here in Lansing.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (10:39)
Yesterday, I had a call with nurses who have been taking care of people throughout this pandemic. Last week, I spoke with postal workers as they geared up for the busy holiday season, just finishing the elections. Spoken with business owners from Detroit to Marquette, who are desperate for some support from the federal government and I know every one of us is tired; tired of this pandemic. Me too.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (11:09)
We’ve been fighting this for a long time, but we have to be resilient enough to see this through. We’ve got to continue working together to eradicate this virus. I’m not going to sugar coat this. The next couple of months are going to be hard.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (11:25)
Last Sunday, I spent my time as with our leadership at DHHS, including Doctor Khaldun and a number of others here who are working so tirelessly to keep people safe, on calls with national experts. We had a number of calls back to back and spent a lot of our Sunday, trying to make sure that we’re asking the smartest people, to give us counsel, as we are forging our path here in Michigan.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (11:56)
We all know the next two months are going to be hard. Too many people traveled for Thanksgiving and we will see our numbers increase very likely because of it and that’ll coincide with the next big holiday, Christmas, and too many people are considering traveling and I’m reiterating please don’t. About four weeks after that, we will see the impact of that.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (12:19)
So the next two months are going to be hard. Our case numbers, our hospitalizations and deaths are dangerously high already. And even with our targeted and temporary actions to slow the spread, we expect to see numbers increase over the coming weeks and months, as more people travel for the holidays.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (12:40)
To our families, to our medical frontline, and our small business owners and our essential workers everywhere, I will continue working around the clock to try to make your job a little less hard. I’ll continue to follow the data closely and I’ll listen to public health like Doctor Khaldun, as I continue to make decisions to protect people in public health.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (13:05)
The good news is there is hope on the horizon. There truly is significant progress being made in the realm of vaccine development, from Moderna, from Pfizer, and from a few other companies that are in that process as well. We will continue to work 24/7 to ensure any effective and safe vaccine is distributed safely and in a way that follows the CDC guidance.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (13:34)
There is light at the end of this tunnel. We’re going to get through this. It’s going to be hard but you know what? We’re Michiganders and we have grit. We’ve come this far. Few more months and we will see the light at the end of this tunnel. We’re tough enough to beat any crisis that comes our way. We’ve done it in the past. We can do this. So let’s mask up. Let’s take care of one another and with that, I’ll hand it over to Doctor Joneigh Khaldun.

Doctor Joneigh Khaldun: (14:10)
Thank you, governor. Good afternoon. So as of yesterday, we had 360,449 cases and 9,134 deaths due to COVID-19 in Michigan. Overall, our case rate is now at 608 cases per million people and has been declining for the past week.

Doctor Joneigh Khaldun: (14:33)
All regions of the state have seen a decline in cases over the past seven to 15 days. However, case rates remain above 500 cases per million people, for all areas of the state, except for the Traverse City region.

Doctor Joneigh Khaldun: (14:47)
Test positivity is also showing slight improvements with the positivity rate declining as well, over the past week. Test positivity is now at 13%, and this is down from 14% on November 16th, but it is still obviously much higher than we would like it to be.

Doctor Joneigh Khaldun: (15:05)
We’re cautiously optimistic, based on what we are seeing, more people started doing the right thing towards the beginning of November. That means wearing masks, not gathering and maintaining six feet of distance from others and we think that is contributing to the decrease in our rate of rise in cases. We will continue to watch these trends as we have throughout the pandemic in case rates and test positivity and especially looking for those increases from the Thanksgiving holiday.

Doctor Joneigh Khaldun: (15:33)
That is one thing that I am very concerned about is that people may have gathered or traveled over the Thanksgiving break. Any increases in cases from the Thanksgiving holiday, we would not expect to see for two to three weeks in our data. If you did gather or travel during Thanksgiving, you should really make sure you’re trying to stay away from others as much as possible, for 14 days after you traveled. You should also wear a mask whenever you will be around someone outside of your own household and please keep in touch with anyone you may have interacted with over the holiday break. If you, or anyone you were in contact with becomes ill, you should immediately get tested and isolate from others.

Doctor Joneigh Khaldun: (16:17)
The state still offers hundreds of testing sites across the entire state and many of them are free. You can go to our website, www.michigan.gov/coronavirustest, or you can call 211 for assistance in finding a site near you.

Doctor Joneigh Khaldun: (16:34)
The actions that you take now, could have a real impact in decreasing how much the virus spreads. We also continue to watch the impact of COVID-19 on our health care systems.

Doctor Joneigh Khaldun: (16:45)
Michigan still has about 20% of inpatient beds filled with patients that have COVID. Overall, there are about 4,200 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 across the entire state. We are in regular contact with our healthcare system leadership, to support them in managing their bed capacity.

Doctor Joneigh Khaldun: (17:05)
Since October, the state has actually identified nine additional community recovery centers. That means 200 additional beds that can support hospitals in discharging patients from the hospital who need long-term care services. And again, we continue to be in regular communication with our healthcare system leadership, so that they can maintain sufficient capacity and implement their surge plans effectively.

Doctor Joneigh Khaldun: (17:29)
I also want to give a brief update on contact tracing. So statewide, our ability to investigate cases of COVID-19, is the highest that it’s been throughout the pandemic. We are able to attempt outreach to over 4,000 positive cases on a daily basis. However, with several straight weeks of over 5,000 newly identified cases per day, this surge is surpassing our ability to perform timely outreach to all people who test positive. State and local public health staff simply can not reach out to everyone in a timely way and DHHS continues to hire additional staff and we are providing guidance to our local health departments, so we can reach as many positive cases as we can.

Doctor Joneigh Khaldun: (18:16)
We are still encouraging everyone to download the my COVID alert app. It protects your privacy and it is free and it can alert you if someone who you’ve been around with, around in close proximity to, test positive.

Doctor Joneigh Khaldun: (18:32)
As the governor mentioned, we are still working hard on planning for when a COVID vaccine becomes available. As many of you know, there are several vaccines that are currently undergoing clinical trials. Two vaccine manufacturers Pfizer, and Moderna, have submitted requests to the FDA, to be authorized to use in the fight against COVID-19. Right now, the FDA and the CDC are going through their process of reviewing the data that was submitted and will be making a final determination on whether or not the vaccine will be authorized to use and in what groups. We expect to have that decision by the middle of December.

Doctor Joneigh Khaldun: (19:10)
We are actively working on plans for distribution when these vaccines become available. The vaccines will require very specific storage requirements. The Pfizer vaccine in particular, must be stored at very cold temperatures, actually negative 70 degrees Celsius, and it will require special cold freezers to store it.

Doctor Joneigh Khaldun: (19:32)
As of today, there are 48 hospitals and 12 local health departments across the state with these ultra cold freezer capabilities who are able to receive and administer the Pfizer vaccine, if it became available today.

Doctor Joneigh Khaldun: (19:46)
There are also over 100 hospitals and local health department sites across the state that have the ability to store and distribute the Moderna vaccine, which does not have to be stored at such a cold temperature. We’re working with all of these sites to make sure that they have what they…

Doctor Joneigh Khaldun: (20:03)
We’re working with all of these sites to make sure they have what they need to start administering the vaccine the moment it becomes available. It’s important to note that when Michigan first gets the vaccine, it will be available in very limited quantities. We are still awaiting word from the CDC on exact numbers of doses that Michigan will receive in that first allocation. Because there will be such a limited amount in the beginning, our first priority will be to keep our healthcare systems operating and to protect those who are the most vulnerable.

Doctor Joneigh Khaldun: (20:33)
Right now, this means that we are prioritizing vaccinating frontline healthcare workers, such as EMS, those working on hospital medical floors in ICUs or in emergency departments. As the vaccine becomes more available, hopefully by January, we hope to quickly get vaccine out to people working in congregate care facilities and residents of skilled nursing facilities, but all of this is dependent on how quickly additional vaccine becomes available from the manufacturer.

Doctor Joneigh Khaldun: (21:04)
Per CDC recommendations, and again, depending on the supply of vaccine, we will continue to expand to other types of critical healthcare workers. That includes essential workers, which includes educators, also, those who are at highest risk of severe illness due to COVID-19, and then eventually to the general public. We hope to be able to have vaccine available to the general public by late spring. It’s important to note that each of these two vaccines will likely be first available and will require two doses, actually, to provide immunity, and those will be separated by several weeks. Initial data shows that both of these vaccines are about 95% effective, and it will be important that we can vaccinate as many people as possible.

Doctor Joneigh Khaldun: (21:49)
Overall, as the governor mentioned, I’m hopeful. We have some very early indicators that in November, people started doing the right thing, and we’re starting to see a slow in our cases. We now know that vaccines will soon be available potentially in the next two weeks, so this is not the time to ease up. Now more than ever, we must collectively strengthen our resolve to do what’s right and to take care of each other and our frontline workers. Let’s all continue to wear a mask, to avoid gatherings, to wash our hands. Please, there’s still time to get your flu shot. A vaccine, fewer deaths, and brighter days are right around the corner in 2021. Thank you. With that, I’ll turn it back over to the governor.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (22:41)
Thank you, Dr. J. With that, happy to open it up for some questions for either me or Dr. Khaldun.

Speaker 1: (22:46)
All right. Great, governor. The first question will come from Emily Lawler with MLive.

Emily Lawler: (22:53)
Governor, thanks for taking my question. I know that you mentioned the data is still early on the effects the three- week pause. Wondering if there’s any chance or consideration that you might extend that at this point?

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (23:07)
Well, I appreciate the question, Emily, and I’m sure that that’s what’s on lots of people’s minds. Certainly, Dr. Khaldun and I are working with our medical experts, including Dr. Lyon-Callo and University of Michigan School of Public Health and the department and our local experts as well. Our county leadership has been really… The local departments of health have been doing incredible work.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (23:35)
As I mentioned on Sunday, we spent a lot of time with national experts to determine how we best protect people. 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, but I think it’s important for people to know we’ve not predetermined anything. It’s going to be driven by where we see the numbers. We have modeling calls, and we are getting up-to-date information, and so as we continue to monitor the numbers, we’re going to also continue to center our work around keeping people safe.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (24:13)
The epidemic order was geared toward stopping the spread of COVID by limiting interactions that are indoors where people are maskless, where there are many households present. That’s why it’s been a very targeted way of trying to bring our numbers down and to keep people safe. We also, as we are consulting our public health experts and getting this data, we know what it takes to be successful here. If more people embrace masking up and avoid any gatherings that have multiple households that are indoors that are maskless especially, anywhere, really, if you’re together and maskless, it’s inherently dangerous, and so if everyone does their part, we’ll see these numbers can drop. We’ll be in a stronger position both for our health systems that are really seeing numbers fill up and also seeing medical employees, nurses, and doctors and respiratory therapists succumbed to COVID themselves because of the high prevalence in communities.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (25:23)
That is our most urgent priority right now. That’s what we’re focusing on to get our numbers back down. I would anticipate early next week, we’ll have a much better idea of what this pause has meant, if people have taken it seriously and done their part, and if we’re… and that will inform any decision going forward.

Speaker 1: (25:45)
[inaudible 00:25:45], governor. Next question will come from Mara MacDonald with [TDIV 00:25:50] Detroit.

Mara MacDonald: (25:49)
Hi, governor. Thanks for taking the question. I’m not trying to beat a dead horse on the restaurant issue, but when you and your team are looking at the numbers that will determine your course of action next week, is it strictly the volume of cases? Is it test positivity? I mean, I can’t tell you how many DMs I get on social media from people who work in restaurants who, I mean, they’re facing an existential crisis, and they’re scared. Can you give them an idea of what the numbers need to look like and what specific numbers you’re looking at in order to make this decision, especially to reopen dine-in?

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (26:34)
Well, I know that they’re scared. They’re scared of what it means not to have a paycheck. They’re scared of what it means to go back to work and possibly get the virus and bring it home to their loved ones. I think we’re all feeling that anxiety, but no one as acutely as restaurant workers. That’s why we are really being thoughtful and targeted and listening to our public health experts as we design a path forward here in Michigan. I was talking to a restaurant owner yesterday who acknowledged that different way that they’ve been providing food to their customers, take out, to change their model. I know not every restaurant has done that or has been able to do that, but he said consumer confidence ultimately is going to be the most important thing, and that’s why following the sciences is really important for the long-term economic health of restaurants, and obviously, for our people.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (27:32)
That’s why we focus on places where people are indoors where they are from multiple households. I challenge you to think about even a 10% full restaurant and what that means in terms of how many households are there, are represented there, and inherently, unmasked because people are eating. That’s just a, unfortunately, all the different ingredients for a higher risk situation, and that’s why we try to do this strategically. All of that being said, we continue to look at positivity rates. That’s the percentage of tests done that are positive. We’re continuing to stay very close to the heads of our hospital systems so that we’ve got data in terms of how many beds are filled, what we are seeing in that trajectory.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (28:28)
These are two important metrics that we’re looking at. I need to reiterate this often: Context matters too, and that’s the public health part of this, the contact tracing. We are getting so overwhelmed because there’s so much community spread that we are challenged to get contact tracing as quickly and as connected as we were doing the summer simply because there’s so much COVID across the state of Michigan.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (28:57)
That hurts us when we are really trying to divine what the context is. Why that matters is if all cases can be attributed to one place, well, that’s a different solution than if there is community spread everywhere. Unfortunately, we’re in a position where it is the latter, and that’s why it’s so much more concerning and serious. There are a lot of different factors that go into this. Each of those is important and tells a much bigger picture about what’s happening at the local level.

Female: (29:31)
[inaudible 00:29:31].

Speaker 1: (29:33)
Okay, and this point, governor, next question will come from Rick Albin with TV8.

Rick Albin: (29:42)
Governor, thank you for doing this this afternoon. I know that you have advocated over the months for the democratic plan in that U.S. House for another stimulus and COVID relief plan, but this morning, bipartisan group of Republicans, Democrats, Independent from the Senate and the House, including some Michigan legislators in the Problem Solvers Caucus introduced a-

Rick Albin: (30:03)
… legislators and the problem solvers caucus introduced a $900 billion stop gap plan, no stimulus, money for state government, money for unemployment, money for PPE, money for distribution of those vaccines. I know it’s not what you had talked about, but if they could get traction, would that be of some help?

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (30:20)
Absolutely, Rick. And I am encouraged to see that there are people on both sides of the aisle that are engaging in dialogue to see how we can help get through this moment. It maybe is not the long-term solution that we all want and need to see, but to help us in this moment would be a great thing and provide much needed support for families who are struggling, for businesses that are struggling, to Mara’s question. So a bipartisan relief plan that requires leaders from both sides of the aisle to come together would be welcome news. I’ve not studied all of the intricacies of the proposal. I can just say that the spirit of it is something that gives me great hope and I’m encouraged.

Speaker 2: (31:18)
All right. We’ve got time for just a couple more. So my next question will come from [inaudible 00:01:24].

Mara MacDonald: (31:25)
Hello, Governor. I was just wondering, when you make your decision to either extend or end the three week pause, is it going to be an all or nothing plan or is it going to be kind of in phases where maybe schools are put back or theaters, but restaurants are still closed for indoor dining?

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (31:44)
Eric, and I appreciate your tenacity. I can’t shed more light on it at this juncture. I know maybe … I know that people understand too, that these are epidemic orders that come from the Director of Health and Human Services. We are having constant conversation and updates and discussion about what next steps might look like. But it is too early to tell you what the director is thinking and what our experts like Dr. Khaldun, Dr. [inaudible 00:02:19], and our public health experts are recommending. So we’re not at that point in time. I wish I could tell you more, but it’s just premature.

Speaker 2: (32:30)
Okay, Governor. Last question will come from Jim Kiertzner with TV7 in Detroit.

Jim Kiertzner: (32:37)
Good afternoon, Governor. I’m going to go to the restaurants one more time. We had a story break here yesterday in Macomb County and Metro Detroit that some restaurant owners, some bar owners are talking amongst themselves behind the scenes about defying your state orders, especially if they are extended next week after the current ones expire on Tuesday. They’re awaiting the federal judge’s ruling. It could come out now at any minute, the federal judge over in Kalamazoo with their legal challenge on that. You talked about getting compliance with masks. You want the legislature to make that, to bake that in to the state law. If you see this growing group of owners taking a stand and defying you and the state orders, what’s your reaction to that? They tell me that a restaurant’s just to the south of us in Ohio are remaining open and doing so safely. They’re frustrated. How do you respond to them?

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (33:38)
Well, let me just say this. I understand the frustration. I understand the fear. None of these decisions that have had to be made over the last 10 months has been easy. Every single one of them has weighed heavily on me, on all of us. And yet we know that this virus has taken the lives of over 9,000 people in Michigan.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (34:07)
When September 11th happened, the whole world stopped. We helped one another. We saw the humanity in one another and we stepped in to do our part. We forever changed the way that we live and how we travel, because that’s how we keep one another safe. We’ve had over 9/ 11s here in Michigan in the last 10 months. It’s devastated families. So many of us know someone who’s died or is struggling with COVID or is struggling with COVID months after they’ve had it. This is still a very real threat to all of us.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (34:54)
I want these restaurants to succeed. I want to do everything in my power to help them through these tough times. That’s why I’ve asked our legislature to get this $100 million plan passed. That’s why I’ve been asking our federal government to take some action. But since they haven’t, I’m hoping that our legislature will work with me on this to give some relief to these restaurants. I don’t want them to have to make tough, awful decisions that could jeopardize their workforce and their customers, because I want them to be successful and I know they need help. And I’m trying to give that help.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (35:33)
I would discourage people from willfully breaking the law, always, no matter what the law is. On any subject, I would strongly discourage that. But I think in this moment, we need to give one another a little empathy and a little bit of grace and recognize the gravity of this situation.

Speaker 2: (35:57)
All right. Thank you, Governor. Thank you, everybody.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer: (35:59)
Thank you.