Whitmer to reopen the construction sector as Michigan bends the coronavirus curve


Homes under construction in Midtown. - STEVE NEAVING
  • Steve Neaving
  • Homes under construction in Midtown.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer plans to lift restrictions on the construction industry, allowing employees to get back to work on May 7, the governor’s office confirmed Wednesday.

"It shouldn't come as a surprise that the governor would open a lower-risk field, like she has said at previous press conferences," spokeswoman Tiffany Brown told Metro Times.

Whitmer plans to sign an executive order Friday to reengage the residential and commercial construction sector, The Michigan Information & Research Service (MIRS News) first reported.

Dozens of construction projects were underway in metro Detroit before they were halted on March 24, when Whitmer issued her first-stay-at-home.

On Monday, Whitmer extended the order through May 15 but said she planned to reopen the construction sectors “in the next week or two” because they are “low risk.” Whitmer said she will begin reopening the state’s economy based on sector, geography, and data on coronavirus cases and hospital capacity.

On Friday, Whitmer lifted restrictions to allow some retailers to reopen for curbside pickup or delivery.

Whitmer said she’s not comfortable reopening the full economy until there are significant declines in new cases and deaths, a doubling or tripling of the state’s testing capacity, a sufficient number of personal protective equipment at hospitals, and adequate space for new patients in intensive care units (ICUs).

The state is showing signs of controlling the virus: The number of COVID-19 hospital admissions in Michigan has declined 34.2% since peaking at 3,986 on April 12. During the same period, the number of patients on a ventilator dropped 41.3%, from 1,365 to 801.

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