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Whitmer: State partially reopening 'because of the strong position that we're in'

Whitmer: State partially reopening 'because of the strong position that we're in'
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Michigan Gov. Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerSunday shows preview: Democrats eye two-part infrastructure push; Michigan coronavirus cases surge Would closing the borders limit deadly foreign strains of COVID-19? Biden resists calls to give hard-hit states more vaccines than others MORE (D) said on Monday that her state was able to partially restore indoor dining "because of the strong position that we're in."

“This virus poses a unique threat to places that are indoors where you mix households and people take off their masks. It’s not the restaurant industry’s fault that they are the place where this virus can spread fast," Whitmer said on CNN's "New Day." "But that is in fact the case. And that’s why we’ve been trying to get Congress to give us more support so we can help these struggling businesses.”

She also credited a “strategic, targeted and temporary pause" in November for Michigan’s numbers dropping “precipitously.”

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"We are now 46th highest when it comes to positivity rates. That's phenomenal, compared to where we were in November," Whitmer told host Alisyn Camerota.

"We're sixth highest when it comes to getting vaccines into arms and because of the strong position that we're in we can take this small step forward in this industry that's struggled so much," she added.

“The pause has worked," Whitmer said last month when announcing restaurants could reopen on Monday, CNN reports.

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"The efforts we have made together to protect our families, front-line workers and hospitals have dramatically reduced cases and we have saved lives. Now, we are confident that starting Feb. 1, restaurants can resume indoor dining with safety measures in place,” she said at the time, noting that Michigan had seen a 70 percent reduction in coronavirus cases per million.

“I know this pandemic has hurt our restaurant owners, our restaurant workers, and all of their families. I want to thank those that made incredible sacrifices, and did their part, on behalf of our protecting our communities from COVID[-19],” she added.

Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, later clarified that restaurants would be permitted to operate at 25 percent capacity and must observe a 10 p.m. curfew.

“The safest thing to do is to not be inside a restaurant. But we still want you to order from them though, you can support them with takeout, delivery or dining outdoors,” Khaldun said.

Last year, FBI agents thwarted an attempted kidnapping of Whitmer by a militia group reportedly upset with Whitmer’s restrictions. Republican state lawmakers have said they will seek to impeach Whitmer after she had issued a second stay-at-home order.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 559,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Michigan. More than 977,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered in the state so far.