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Whitmer Asks Small Businesses To Be Patient With COVID Orders

Michigan Executive Office of the Governor
Governor Gretchen Whitmer speaks during a press conference September 10, 2020.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer asked business owners to be patient with her executive orders and other actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Democratic governor engaged in an online question-and-answer session Thursday before the Small Business Association of Michigan. The governor said there are ups and downs, but a return to something closer to what normal was pre-pandemic should come within months, not years.

“It’s exhausting. I know we all have COVID-19 fatigue,” she said, “but it’s really, really important that we keep leading in this space.”

A big issue for the group is added protection from COVID-related lawsuits as businesses reopen.

Whitmer, without mentioning any specific proposal, said it’s important that businesses be held to the existing standard of taking “reasonable” efforts to provide a safe environment.

“I think that is a standard that most businesses are already living up to and should give business owners some comfort that if they’re taking reasonable care to do what they need to do to keep their employees and their customers safe, they’re going to be in good shape.”

Republicans in the Legislature have proposed bills to provide more liability protections for businesses that re-open as executive orders are lifted.

The governor said efforts to contain the virus are working in Michigan.

“We have to remember that in the bigger book, in the bigger story, this is going to be a chapter,” she said, and predicted a return to something more like life was pre-pandemic will come in months rather than years. She cautioned that’s dependent on the pace of developing a vaccine.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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