Also Tuesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer accused Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, of being “anti-science” for opposing a statewide mask requirement and said to expect more state health department orders to address the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think it is concerning that the top Republican in Michigan government is an anti-masker and doesn’t want to encourage and require everyone across the state to mask up within hours of the leader of his party and our president getting admitted into Walter Reed for COVID-19,” Whitmer said at a news briefing. “A mask remains the best tool we have to keep our businesses open. A mask remains the best tool we have to keep our kids in school. A mask remains the best tool we have to protect our lives and our livelihoods and our families. I think that those comments show you a real disdain for science and ignorance of the epidemiology that we are up against. Experts agree. Our public health experts, every scientist who is studying this understands that this is crucial.”
Shirkey has encouraged mask use, but also in a Monday interview with Gongwer News Service mocked the focus on masks as an “obsession.” He also said there’s no evidence that masks have materially affected Michigan’s COVID-19 numbers.
Whitmer also called on lawmakers to cancel the traditional recess for deer hunting season so it can work with her on codifying other executive orders — such as one that extends the duration of unemployment insurance benefits.
Shirkey spokesperson Amber McCann said the Senate will return to session Thursday to pass bills related to the pandemic that have yet to be determined and then the House would convene Tuesday to consider those bills.
— Gongwer News Service contributed to this report.