Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's decision to toughen one of the nation's strictest stay-home orders in response to the coronavirus is hitting opposition in her home state, where Republicans who backed her moves initially are now ratcheting up their criticism. Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey took to Facebook to accuse the Democratic governor and vice presidential contender of "DESTROYING OUR HEALTH BY KILLING OUR LIVELIHOODS!" while President Trump's campaign accused her of imposing "authoritarian rule," per the AP. GOP lawmakers and allies say certain operations—golf courses, marinas, landscaping—can operate again if they adhere to social-distancing guidelines. Others say the restrictions should no longer be imposed statewide when the virus is far more concentrated in the Detroit area.
Michigan has at least 27,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,768 deaths—the third-most in the US—and Whitmer contends far-flung communities must be on guard. She says reopening some businesses now would lead to more fill-ups at gas stations where the virus can last up to three days on steel pump handles. Her latest stay-at-home order, issued last week, is scheduled to end April 30. GOP legislators are upset because she did not align Michigan with a federal agency's revised list of critical infrastructure, which would have allowed more people to return to work. But Senate Democratic Leader Jim Ananich has defended Whitmer, who was sued Tuesday by residents alleging a violation of constitutional rights. "She's doing everything she can to keep us safe," he said.
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