LANSING, Mich — Hours after meeting with Dr. Deborah Birx in Lansing, Governor Whitmer held another press conference Wednesday in what many hoped would provide clarity on the future of businesses still forced to remain closed due to the risks associated with Covid-19. But instead the Governor started the presser with an announcement about a $5 billion five year pledge by Huntington Bank to help struggling businesses and business owners. “The people of Michigan are strong and resilient but many are seeking greater stability and certainly economic support,” explained Sandy Pierce, Huntington Bank Chair of Michigan. Governor Gretchen Whitmer added, “Huntington Bank’s commitment to doing this here in Michigan and elsewhere is really something that’s phenomenal support for the people of Michigan so we’re grateful for that.” Pierce later explained that the money would be used to help small business, support social equity and economic inclusion and affordable housing.
The Governor also announced plans for twenty new free neighborhood Covid-19 testing sites in the coming weeks, including in Grand Rapids and Muskegon, to be hosted by churches, community colleges and non-profit organizations. But the topic quickly turned to the few businesses still holding out hope of re-opening soon, like gyms, theaters, and bowling alleys. The Governor hinting that she is not happy with some of the results she has seen from those businesses that have opened in less populous regions of the state. “Unfortunately in these other spaces there have been ample pieces of evidence that if not done appropriate, these can be spreaders and that’s why we wanted to make sure we got the appropriate protocols correct. I think we’ve got an idea of what that looks like,” Governor Whitmer added that an announcement on those businesses would be coming in the very near future.
Governor Whitmer was also asked about the future of High School sports that are still in limbo, like Volleyball, Soccer, Swimming and Diving, all prohibited under Executive Order 160 that keeps gyms and pools closed and requires social distancing in sports, which currently makes Soccer and Football a no go. She once again hinted that a decision on the status of those sports could be announced soon.