Gov. Gretchen Whitmer hinted Monday about another tool at her disposal to keep Michigan businesses from defying stay-at-home orders keeping them closed.
LANSING, MI — With local sheriffs refusing to enforce Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay at home order and Michigan businesses willing to defy that order to reopen, it soon won’t just be a barbershop in Owosso.
Especially because that barbershop won his first legal battle against the stay-at-home orders. A Shiawassee County judge refused the request of Attorney General Dana Nessel for a restraining order to close the barbershop in adherence with the prohibition on forms of work that are high-risk for the transmission of the novel coronavirus, reports Newsweek.
But in her press conference Monday, Whitmer hinted at another option available to the state.
“Most businesses in the state have a license that is granted by the state,” she said, “and they’re putting themselves at risk by putting their customers and themselves at risk by opening prematurely.”
That implied threat to the business licenses of places which refuse to adhere to the increasingly lax Stay Home, Stay Safe order isn’t without precedent, even just within the coronavirus pandemic itself.
Video game retailer GameStop attempted to assert itself as an essential retail service early in the pandemic, instructing its employees as to how to interact with government officials attempting to ensure only life-sustaining services remained open during the first peak of the pandemic. Though, as gaming news outlet DualShockers reports, a threat to suspend GameStop’s permit to conduct business in Pennsylvania quickly prompted the company to change its tune.
A similar approach may be on the table in Michigan.
“I’ve been very clear; these executive orders have the force of law,” Whitmer said. “The devastation from a second wave could dwarf the hardship that we’ve already encountered.”
Despite that, there have been multiple calls to “reopen” the state. Erik Kiilunen, an owner of two U.P. based businesses and self-described introvert, has bought billboards across the state urging businesses to reopen in open defiance of the Stay Home, Stay Safe order. His billboards, reading “All Business Is Essential” have been posted around the state and Kiilunen is looking to expand his message of defiance, MLive reported Tuesday.
If businesses heed that advice and defy orders designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus and Whitmer can’t rely on police statewide to enforce the law, suspending or revoking licenses to operate businesses in Michigan provides her another tool to prevent high-risk businesses from reopening.
The ‘Gander has explained how Michigan is assessing that risk as part of its MI Safe Start plan.
Opposition to coronavirus protections have become increasingly violent, with a “Judgment Day” planned in Lansing Thursday and the recent murder of a security guard attempting to enforce a mask policy.
All in opposition to a policy that the Detroit Free Press reports has absolutely saved lives.