House Republicans Unveil Regional Approach to Reopen Economy in Michigan

Rep. Shane Hernandez of Port Huron today helped unveil a regional approach to safely move toward reopening Michigan’s economy.

The proposed House Republican framework calls for a rolling restart — an approach based on the prevalence and risk factors of the virus, which varies by region. A transition task force would be established to determine which counties could have some COVID-19 restrictions eased more quickly, getting more people back to work and more facets of everyday life – when it’s safe.

“This framework provides a good start toward allowing more people to safely provide for their families and pay their bills during this challenging time,” said Hernandez, chair of the House Appropriations Committee. “Everyone’s top priority is protecting public health and defeating this virus. We can work on that mission and also allow the economy to start reopening in safe, smart ways.

“The governor’s across-the-board, cookie-cutter approach has been far too restrictive on Michigan families and workers. I am hopeful she will take this opportunity to work with us, and make some commonsense adjustments to help get our state moving again.”

A transition task force – including representatives from Gov. Whitmer’s administration, the Legislature and outside groups – would place counties into one of three tiers based on coronavirus activity and other factors such as hospitalization rates and capacity. Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties – which have the vast majority of COVID-19 cases in the state – would be in the tier with strictest restrictions. Other counties would be placed in tiers with fewer restrictions.

The same task force would help determine which jobs and activities could be resumed safely, starting from the premise of federal CISA guidelines which in some cases are not as restrictive as the prohibitions now in place in Michigan. The task force would make frequent recommendations to the governor to reflect changes in coronavirus activity.

“There’s no question some workers who have been forced into unemployment by the governor’s orders could be on the job safely,” Hernandez said. “People are worried about their futures and what’s going to happen next. I am hopeful the governor will consider our common-sense recommendations and help move Michigan to better days ahead.”

Submitted by Tim Martin