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Shirkey announces Senate Republican proposal to Open Michigan Safely

LANSING—Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, on Thursday unveiled the Senate Republican caucus proposal to return Michiganders to the workplace safely and bring the state’s economy back online.

“The Senate Republican caucus believes it is our responsibility to propose a framework for Michiganders to live life in the presence of COVID-19, safely” said Shirkey.

The Senate Republican proposal, Open Michigan Safely, relies on measurable data points to serve as indicators of decreased risk. The proposal is structured in phases that outline conditions in the state, suggest safe business operations, and propose levels of citizen activity.

For example, during the most active spread of infection, Phase 1 of the Senate Republican proposal, acknowledges the need for the vast majority of citizens to continue to stay at home, but differs significantly from Governor Whitmer’s current order by adopting commonsense revisions.

“Michigan remains an outlier amongst states with strict stay-at-home orders” said Shirkey. “Our governor did not adopt updated guidance from the federal government in her most recent stay-at-home order that would provide greater clarity for employers and employees and would permit more people to work.”

By adopting updated guidelines from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Administration (CISA), Michigan would be better aligned with other states experiencing similar COVID-19 caseloads.

The Open Michigan Safely proposal would also allow low-risk businesses to operate during Phase 1. Low-risk businesses are those with little to no physical contact between employers, employees and customers. An individual who can perform his or her job without the need for physical contact with another individual would be allowed to resume work.

“This proposal embraces strict adherence by employees to health and safety measures and disciplined execution of safe workplace protocols by employers. These behaviors are essential components of each phase and are crucial to restoring Michigan’s economic vitality,” said Shirkey.

“Our citizens need a proposal to consider. Mental health is as important and directly tied to our physical health. We must provide a pathway that empowers our population to take control of the circumstances in our state, rather than be powerless against this virus,” said Shirkey.

“We welcome input from the medical community to improve this proposed framework. We also hope the Senate bipartisan ‘Safe Behaviors for Safe Workplaces’ work group will consider this proposal as they continue to gather information about getting Michiganders safely back to work,” said Shirkey.

The Senate Republicans have shared the proposal with Governor Whitmer and have asked her to respond prior to April 30 on how the proposal can be incorporated into short and long-term plans for Michigan.

Note: Information about the proposal is available via