Michigan is moving to make the state’s emergency coronavirus restrictions permanent.
The state’s regulatory agencies extended their COVID-19 restrictions this week amid a surge in positive cases and hospitalizations.
However, the restrictions will expire in six months, and then the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration will need to decide whether to abandon them or make them permanent, according to Reason magazine.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer promised not to send the state into another lockdown, even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged her to do so.
But she made it clear that the only reason she hasn’t acted yet is because of a state Supreme Court decision challenging her authority to issue pandemic-related executive orders.
“I have been sued by my legislature. I have lost in a Republican-controlled Supreme Court,” Whitmer told NBC on Sunday. “I don’t have all of the exact same tools. Despite those things, we still have some of the strongest mitigation measures in the country.”
The Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the 1945 law Whitmer was citing to issue her coronavirus directives was being used illegally. But instead of pulling back, Whitmer just pivoted to a different state law that allows regulatory agencies to issue health orders.
Reason noted that if Whitmer succeeds in making coronavirus restrictions permanent, there is very little the other two branches of government could do to stop their enforcement. They would need to wait for the law to change or for the next governor to repeal the policies, the outlet explained.
That means Michigan businesses could be forced to require customers to wear masks and social distance, regardless of whether they’ve been vaccinated.
Ironically, Whitmer seemed to admit last week that her restrictions didn’t do much at all.
“We do still have a mask mandate. We do still have our capacity requirements. And we’ve got some of the strongest protocols in the country, and yet, this virus has come raging back,” she said.