While the health and safety of Michiganders remains Whitmer’s first priority, she is ready to re-engage Michigan’s economy. MI Safe Start is the governor’s plan for laying out the priorities for that reopening, and she says she’ll sign an executive order on Friday that will open both residential and commercial construction by May 7th.
“Businesses are going to need to do their part as we slowly and safely reengage sectors of our economy, ” Whitmer said in a press conference today. “Businesses must protect their employees through careful monitoring of symptoms, instituting an array of social distancing techniques, strengthening sanitation and hygiene, and providing recommended protective equipment whether it’s masks or face shields or a combination thereof and additional measures.”
Some additional protection for workers are being put into place for the future. A new program called Futures for Frontliners, which was inspired by the GI Bill, will provide tuition-free pathways to college or technical certificates to essential workers who don’t have college degrees. She is also expanding the state’s Workshare Program to allow employers to reduce employee hours to receive weekly unemployment insurance (UI) benefits as well as the additional $600 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) weekly benefit.
Governor Whitmer also called on leaders in Congress to support Sen. Gary Peters’ Heroes Fund to provide hazard pay for frontline workers putting their lives on the line to ensure access to life-saving care, food, and other critical services during the pandemic.
Reporting for WGRT – Jessie Wiegand