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Gov. Whitmer talks to Michiganders during TV town hall on COVID-19

Governor's office

Michiganders heard Governor Gretchen Whitmer address a wide range of topics related to the state’s response of the COVID-19outbreak during an hour long program broadcast Thursday night on television and radio stations, including Michigan Radio. 

Answering questions from a trio of Detroit TV anchors, Whitmer and Michigan’s Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun talked about topics ranging from closing schools to reopening Michigan’s economy once thepandemicruns its course.

During her statewide TV town hall, Whitmer addressed a divide between urban and rural Michiganders facing theCOVID-19 outbreak.

The bulk of Michigan’s cases and deaths are in the state’s largest cities. Meanwhile, some people in rural communities are questioning why they are having to abide by the governor’s "stay home" order.

Whitmer insists COVID-19 is a threat to all Michiganders.

“The fact of the matter is that COVID-19 is probably in a lot more places than we know,” says Whitmer.

Last night, Whitmer urged health care workers in parts of the state where there are fewer known cases to volunteer in parts of the state reeling from the effects of COVID-19.

The governor was also asked whether some local responses to the crisis should be considered on the state level.

Whitmer says she’s not considering imposing a statewide curfew to try to slow the spread of COVID-19.

On Thursday, the city of Flint imposed a 9pm to 6am curfew. Flint’s mayor says the curfew is needed to stop people from ignoring the governor’s stay home order.

Whitmer admits there are similar problems in other parts of the state.

“In terms of a statewide curfew, we haven’t determined if that step is necessary,” says Whitmer, referring to a statewide curfew.

And then, there’s the lottery.

Whitmer says the lottery is non-essential during the current COVID-19 outbreak. 

But she admits people are still lining up to buy lottery tickets at stores that remain open during her stay home order.

“I have become aware of the serious concern about people congregating around the lottery and that’s something we’re taking a very serious look at,” says Whitmer.

She urges convenience and other stores that sell lottery tickets to require social distancing.  

On Thursday, the state took another action to require observance of the governor’s orders.

The state of Michigan is threatening thousand dollar fines and other penalties for those who violate the governor’s COVID-19 orders.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced the new civil penalties Thursday night.

The orders include restrictions on large gatherings and non-essential businesses.

Michigan has recorded 417 deaths and more than 10,000 positive coronavirus cases. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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