LANSING — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, concerned by the recent uptick in coronavirus cases in Michigan, did not announce new restrictions on the economy Tuesday, but said it is possible the state may have to take that route.
"I'm not announcing any change today, but we are constantly looking at the data," Whitmer said at a news conference, after announcing her plans for the resumption of in-person schooling in the fall.
Whitmer had said she hoped to be able to announce that south and central Michigan could join northern Michigan in Phase 5 of her six-phase reopening plan ahead of the July 4 holiday.
"That's not going to happen," Whitmer said Tuesday, adding that the state can expect "more clarity in the next 24 to 48 hours" about whether "a more conservative approach is needed," or any regions of the state will need to move backwards, in terms of restrictions, or move backwards to Phase 3.
She said the rate of positive tests and hospitalization rates will be factors she will weigh in making a decison.
"If we see a sustained spike, that's exactly what would take us back to a Phase 3," she said.
She noted the Lansing region is "heating up" after a major outbreak linked to an East Lansing bar frequented by MSU students.
In Phase 5, gyms, movie theaters and various entertainment venues are among the additional businesses that can reopen.
But Michigan cases have ticked up significantly recently, with the seven-day average of daily new cases rising to 275 at the end of last week, after bottoming out June 15 at 152.
Whitmer recently extended Michigan's state of emergency — which gives her the power to order various businesses closed or subject to restrictions — through July 16.
The state of emergency order should not be confused with the stay-at-home order, which Whitmer lifted June 1.
Michigan's barbershops, hair and nail salons, tattoo parlors and other personal service shops reopened June 15 in southern and central Michigan, after reopening June 10 in the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula.
Also open Up North, as of June 10: movie theaters, gyms, bowling alleys and outdoor sporting venues.
On June 1, Whitmer said all Michigan bars and restaurants could reopen at 50 percent capacity June 8. She had earlier loosened restrictions on bars and restaurants in northern Michigan.
Republican lawmakers have pushed to reopen the economy more quickly, especially in areas of the state with relatively few cases, and have criticized Whitmer over the inability of the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency to manage a deluge of claims.