Rep. Cole supports regional, safety-based reopening of MI economy

State Rep. Triston Cole yesterday said he supports a regional, safety-focused approach to restarting Michigan’s economy and re-establishing a semblance of normalcy in the COVID-19 era.

House Republicans unveiled a blueprint to help move the state toward a rolling restart—an approach based on the prevalence and risk factors of the virus, which varies by region.

A task force would be established to determine which counties could have some COVID-19 restrictions eased more quickly, getting more people back to work and more facets of everyday life when it’s safe.

“This plan puts health and safety first because protecting Michigan families from COVID-19 remains our top priority,” said Cole, of Mancelona. “As this virus starts to slow down, it makes sense to begin lifting restrictions first in the areas that have seen lower concentrations of the virus. This tiered approach will allow us to safely reopen businesses, put people back to work and methodically get everyone back to their normal routines.”

A task force – including representatives from Gov. Whitmer’s administration, the Legislature and outside groups – would place counties into one of three tiers based on coronavirus activity and other factors such as hospitalization rates and capacity. Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties – which have the vast majority of COVID-19 cases in the state – would be in the tier with strictest restrictions. Other counties would be placed in tiers with fewer restrictions.

The same task force would help determine which jobs and activities could be resumed safely, starting from the premise of federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) guidelines, which in some cases are not as restrictive as the prohibitions now in place in Michigan. The task force would make frequent recommendations to the governor to reflect changes in coronavirus activity.

“The governor is in a tough position and I appreciate her dedication to keeping people safe,” Cole said. “Still, many of her orders have been overly restrictive and placed unnecessary burdens on people and job providers in northern Michigan. It’s time to start acknowledging that issuing one-size-fits-all restrictions on the entire state isn’t the right approach. Metro Detroit has been hit hardest by COVID-19 – and it makes sense that the strictest precautions should be taken there. It also makes sense to start lifting restrictions in other areas, while still keeping a close watch to ensure that public health is not compromised. My colleagues and I stand ready and willing to work with the governor and begin the process of reopening our state.”

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