Business leaders call on Michigan government for ‘unity of purpose’ against COVID-19

32 executives sent a joint letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Legislature
Michigan released a new MI Safe Start coronavirus risk map based on a revised ranking system.
Michigan released a new MI Safe Start coronavirus risk map based on a revised ranking system.(source: State of Michigan)
Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 12:40 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - A group of 32 business leaders from around Michigan called on state government to show “complete unity of purpose” in battling the coronavirus pandemic as the number of cases mounts.

The letter signed by executives from some of Michigan’s largest companies, health care organizations, universities and labor unions calls for mandatory use of face coverings, workplace health and safety practices and continued limits on gatherings.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and other state agencies have issued orders this month covering all of those topics. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer previously issued orders on those issues, but the Michigan Supreme Court invalidated the law she used to make them.

The business leaders' letter says the orders in place now are workable and “we should now focus on deploying them with discipline.” They hope to avoid a costly second wave of COVID-19 while the numbers of cases and deaths increase across Michigan.

“Michigan cannot risk an uncontrolled outbreak of the sort now underway in Wisconsin,” the letter says.

The executives point out that not everyone is affected by coronavirus the same way and state government leaders should be clear about that. But they say all age groups need to accept responsibility for preventing the illness from spreading and affecting people most at risk.

The business leaders point out Michigan’s seven-day average of COVID-19 cases exceeds the spring peak, young adults no longer are the primary age group diagnosed with the illness, hospitalization rates are growing, death rates remain high among older residents and young people are reporting long-term health issues after coronavirus diagnoses.

The letter was sent to the Republican-led Michigan Legislature and Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

“We commend the governor and Legislature for working together on legislation to extend unemployment protections and provide common sense liability protections,” the letter says. “Now we need that same spirit of cooperation focused on reigning in surging case levels.”

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