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Whitmer on COVID: 'Next 4 to 6 weeks are going to be tough'

File photo. State of Michigan

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Wednesday that she’s not expecting to issue new COVID-19 restrictions in 2022, but she also said mandates are not out of the question either.

The governor said in a year-end press conference that much more is known about how to avoid and to treat COVID than at this time last year. She also said restrictions would be less effective now because it would further alienate people who continue to resist vaccination and other precautions.

But Whitmer said nothing is entirely off the table in addressing the rapidly spreading omicron variant. "I think there are potentially a variety of scenarios where we would have to have that conversation,” she said.

"Over the next four to six weeks, it’s going to be tough here,” said Whitmer. “I think one of the things that I want to make sure that we’re communicating well is that the omicron variant is so aggressive. It is quickly overtaking our country.”

Whitmer, who’s expected to seek reelection next year, said political considerations played no part in decisions to issue or not issue restrictions and would not in the future.

The governor also said she’s been too busy to closely follow the legal proceedings against the men accused of plotting to kidnap and murder her.

And she defended the use of non-disclosure agreements to discuss bringing an electric vehicle plant to Michigan, confirming that she is “covered by one of them.”

She said the terms will eventually be made public, “but in the initial stages that confidentiality is important and they’re never going to engage with us if we don’t participate on those terms.”

Whitmer signed a new law Monday to create economic development funds to attract factories and other projects to Michigan. GM is reportedly eying Delta Township near Lansing for an electric vehicle battery factory. That’s after Ford chose locations in Tennessee and Kentucky for electric vehicle production.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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