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Whitmer: 'I'm not going to be bullied' into reopening before it's safe

Michigan Gov. Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerPope Francis swipes at groups protesting COVID-19 restrictions in NYT op-ed Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year Oregon governor urges hosts to 'uninvite' guests MORE (D) said Tuesday she is prepared to halt her economic reopening or reimpose restrictions if the state sees a significant increase in coronavirus cases, even if it means facing political repercussions. 

“I want to re-engage this economy more than anyone, but I’m not going to do it if it is too risky to do so, and that's why we’re staying focused on the epidemiology,” Whitmer said Tuesday on CNN’s “New Day.” “I’m not going to be bullied into moving before it's safe, and if we have to move back, we're going to.” 

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Last week, Whitmer, who has seen huge protests against statewide COVID-19 restrictions, signed an order closing indoor service at bars throughout much of lower Michigan to mitigate the disease's spread ahead of the July 4 holiday weekend. Gyms and theaters also remain closed across the state, and Whitmer said on CNN she is prepared to shut down hair salons if needed as well. 

“I took a lot of heat when we brought that curve down, we saved thousands of lives. I’m prepared to take heat if that’s what is going to take to keep people safe,” she said. 

The coronavirus outbreak peaked in Michigan in April, but other states, mainly in the south and west, are seeing record spikes in cases. Whitmer said she is trying to avoid similar surges as Michigan reopens. 

“I would hate to think the sacrifices that we've made could be made in vain because some people are losing interest or dropping their guard. We've got to double down right now more than ever,” she said. 

“It’s incumbent on every one of us to mask up,” she added. “From the White House to the statehouse and everywhere in between. That's the most important thing we can do right now.”

The U.S. saw its largest single-day total of new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, hitting more than 55,000.