News Story

Remember When Leaving The House During COVID Could Be A Crime? Detroit Free Press Doesn’t

The Detroit Free Press claimed that the state of Michigan was never under a “lockdown, per se,” in a March 13 story.

The Free Press wrote: “Some of the claims attacking [Gov. Gretchen] Whitmer and other Democrats are too broad, lack context or are simply inaccurate. There never was a ‘lockdown’ per se, but customer or staff fears of catching COVID-19 and orders that required businesses to limit operations forced many establishments to close.”

Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-20 on March 24, which stated, “The following places of public accommodation are closed to ingress, egress, use, and occupancy by members of the public” and then listed dozen of businesses. They included restaurants, food courts, cafes, bars, taverns, theaters, cinemas, libraries, museums and casinos.

Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-21 on March 24. It stated, “All individuals currently living within the State of Michigan are ordered to stay at home or at their place of residence. Subject to the same exceptions, all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring among persons not part of a single household are prohibited.” Violating an executive order was a misdemeanor.

Detroit Free Press reporter Dave Boucher, who was a contributing reporter to the March 13, 2022, story claiming there was no “lockdown, per se,” acknowledged, during a November 2020 press conference with the governor, that the state had been in lockdown.

Boucher asked Whitmer during that press conference, “As you noted, the spread of COVID was down substantially, or at least the state was able to do that earlier in the year, and in part, that’s probably because there were lockdowns or stay-at-home orders in place. Why not issue a temporary stay at home order or lockdown right now, as opposed to waiting for the legislature?”

Whitmer has acknowledged, in numerous press conferences, that she closed down the state.

On April 20, 2020, Whitmer stated: “I know that times are tough, and that we as a state are going to be confronting a tough budget as a result of the economic shutdown.”

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mentioned Michigan’s shutdown in an April 2021 press conference. Walensky advised state leaders to again shut down the state, citing rising COVID cases.

“The answer to that is to really close things down, to go back to our basics, to go back to where we were last spring, last summer, and to shut things down, to flatten the curve, to decrease contact with one another, to test to the extent that we have available, to contact trace,” Walensky said. “Sometimes you can’t even do it at the capacity that you need. But, really, what we need to do in those situations is shut things down.”

As Michigan Capitol Confidential previously reported, a month before the lockdown, in February 2020, Michigan’s unemployment rate was 3.7%. By May of that year, joblessness in Michigan’s workforce had leaped to 20.8%.

The University of New Hampshire’s Carsey School of Public Policy reported that Michigan lost 272,000 jobs from February 2020 to September 2021.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 32.04% of all businesses in Michigan were subjected to a government-mandated closures in 2020. That was the most in the country. The national average was 18.74% of businesses.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.