VanderWall responds to extension of ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ order

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Curt VanderWall said Thursday that Gov. Whitmer’s extension of her “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order through April 30 lacks a vision for the state’s return to more normal living.

“While taking extraordinary safety measures, including staying home, has been beneficial in helping slow the spread of COVID-19, it has caused untold damage to businesses, social and mental health, and the economy,” said VanderWall, R-Ludington. “We cannot simply continue to shut everything down without a plan to support job providers and families during this crisis.”

On Thursday, the governor issued  Executive Order 2020-42, extending Stay Home, Stay Safe through April 30.

Many lawmakers were hoping she would make some concessions to aid an economy that is reeling.

Under the governor’s order, you may not leave the home to work unless your employer designates you as a critical infrastructure worker; you may not participate in any public gatherings; and you may not visit someone in the hospital, a nursing home, or any other residential care facilities (with limited exceptions).

VanderWall said a positive change to the new order prohibits residents from traveling between residences in the state after April 10.

“Many of my constituents are concerned that folks from down state have been leaving the hardest-hit areas and bringing the virus with them up north and potentially overwhelming the rural hospital systems,” VanderWall said. “This change will help prevent that from happening.”

On Tuesday, VanderWall was named to a Senate work group tasked with determining a transition plan to enable Michigan residents to return to work after an extended time at home during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“While the governor’s extension lacks a plan for a return, the goal of the Safe Behavior for Safe Workplaces work group is to provide recommendations to the governor to guide individuals and families who seek to return to the workplace safely,” said VanderWall, who chairs the Health Policy and Human Services Committee. “The risk this virus has presented to our health and safety has been great, but the economic challenges we face are also daunting. A concrete strategy will help enable a quicker recovery.”

In addition to VanderWall, the Senate bipartisan work group will include Chairman Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth; Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City; Sen. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit; Sen. Sylvia Santana, D-Detroit; and Sen. Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield.