Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer suggested the “sad part” of state residents protesting her strict quarantine measures was that they would likely be exposed to and spread Wuhan coronavirus, resulting in further lockdowns.
Thousands of protestors, organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition under the hashtag #OperationGridlock, took to the capitol in Lansing on Wednesday to voice their disapproval of Whitmer’s rules, which include the closing of businesses selling hardware supplies and gardening seeds, and the banning of travel “between residences.” While Whitmer said she respected the “right” of the “small segment of the state” to protest, she warned they could be furthering the lockdowns by refusing to social distance.
“We have to take serious measures, and people are getting a little stir-crazy from being at home, being worried about work, worried about paying the bills, worried about their businesses, and a small segment of the state is protesting, and that’s their right,” she stated. “The sad part is, though, that the more likely they’re out and about, the more likely they are to spread COVID-19 and the more likely we’re going to have to spread this posture for a longer period of time.”
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer: "A small segment of the state is protesting, and that's their right. The sad part is, though, that the more likely they're out and about, the more likely they are to spread COVID-19 and the more likely we're going to have to spread this posture." pic.twitter.com/eMo4aNxfpB
— The Hill (@thehill) April 16, 2020
In a Wednesday interview with MSNBC’s Joy Reid, Whitmer went further, saying the protest was “essentially a political rally.”
“This small group that came together without masks on, passing out candy with bare hands to children, who were congregating together, brandishing their weapons, having posters of being anti-choice — this was a political rally. It was a political rally that is going to endanger people’s lives because this is precisely how COVID-19 spreads,” she stated.
As of April 16, Michigan has the fourth-most coronavirus cases in the country with 28,059 and 1,921 deaths.