LANSING, Mich. (WILX) – Life after lockdown in Michigan is going to require some changes to the state government, according to Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
She told News 10 in an interview looking back at the year since she announced Michigan’s first COVID cases, the pandemic exposed many flaws in the system that existed when Michigan’s first case was announced on March 10, 2020.
The biggest issue people across the state are still facing is they can’t get ahold of anyone, particularly unemployment and health departments.
Gov. Whitmer said now’s the time to fix those issues.
“This is an opportunity for us to take what works in these last 12 months and take it forward. And also to fix what we’ve struggled with so we don’t struggle with it again going forward,” Gov. Whitmer said.
Most everyone agreed Michigan’s unemployment and public health systems could’ve performed much better over the last year.
Governor Whitmer easily thinks there’s a common source of those problems.
“This pandemic has stressed some of our important agencies to the limit and where we’ve made less investments over the years and shown the weaknesses because of it,” said Gov. Whitmer.
Improvements were made to both in the last 365.
“They are doing phenomenal work,” said Gov. Whitmer.
But despite the governor’s optimistic take, News 10 still gets weekly complaints from people who can’t get through to anyone at the Unemployment Insurance Agency.
The governor admitted more changes are needed before the next crisis.
“I think it would be doing everyone a disservice if we didn’t learn from this moment and improve how we meet the needs of people of this state,” said Gov. Whitmer.
The governor said there are things she’d do differently if given the chance. At the top of her list: Michigan’s mask mandate.
“Knowing that, a mask mandate very early on would have been wise. And would’ve been wise for us as a nation to embrace. Might have changed the whole trajectory of our experience with COVID,” she said.
Gov. Whitmer said Michigan will still have COVID restrictions in place until 70% of Michiganders 16 and older are vaccinated.
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