Southwest Michigan Chamber President Urges More Measured Approach to Stay Home Strategy

The Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber is asking for an easing of Michigan’s stay home order as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The chamber has released the following statement:

Arthur Havlicek, President of the Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber, today emphasized the need for the state to cease implementing restrictions predicated on the “essential vs. non-essential” argument and instead begin implementing guidelines based on which work activities are “safe vs. unsafe.”

“Our Chamber has been listening to the feedback of our members and closely watching the economic implications these orders have had on our area,” Havlicek said. “We agree on the importance of continuing our social distancing practices to slow the spread of COVID-19 but believe a more measured approach can be taken to avoid long-term damage to Southwest Michigan’s economy.”

Yesterday, Governor Whitmer extended the current “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order (E.O. 2020-42) until April. 30th.  To the dismay of many, this order put new restrictions on individuals and businesses. Stores that are allowed to remain open must cease selling items deemed non-essential and close off the areas of the store dedicated to those items. Furthermore, the new order includes a provision that restricts the advertising or promotion of non-essential goods, and now prohibits all non-essential travel.

“Many of our Southwest Michigan businesses deemed unessential are able to safely operate within social distancing guidelines,” Havlicek said. “We need a plan for getting Michiganders back on their feet so they can resume earning a living for their family.”

Havlicek was encouraged by the legislature’s recent steps towards developing that plan, including the Michigan Senate’s “Safe Behavior for Safe Workplaces” workgroup and the Michigan House Republican’s Small Business Task Force. He was also glad to hear state Rep. Pauline Wendzel was appointed to the latter.

“These are positive steps towards moving Michigan beyond its current one-size fits all approach,” said Havlicek. “I want to assure our members we will do all we can to ensure the voice of Southwest Michigan businesses will be heard throughout this process.”

“We are appreciative of the Governor’s efforts to protect public health and remain committed to working with her and her legislative counterparts in getting Michigan safely back to work as soon as possible.”