Michigan governor says protesters against stay-at-home order 'might have just created a need to lengthen it'

Demonstrators gathered in front of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing on Wednesday — some staying in their cars, others getting out and standing shoulder-to-shoulder — to protest against the stay-at-home policy enacted by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) as a way to fight the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The protest, called "Operation Gridlock," was organized by conservative groups arguing that Whitmer's order, which bans travel between homes and closes down non-essential businesses, is too strict. As of Wednesday night, Michigan had more than 28,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and the death toll stands at 1,921. The stay-at-home rules were enacted to prevent the COVID-19 outbreak from overwhelming the state's hospitals

Some demonstrators wore masks to cover their faces, but those who didn't posed a major health risk to those around them, Whitmer told reporters. "We know that this demonstration is going to come at a cost to people's health," she said. "The sad irony of the protest is that they don't like to be in this stay-at-home order, but they might have just created a need to lengthen it."

Whitmer also said that while she understands their frustrations, she was disappointed to learn that an ambulance was stuck in the gridlock caused by the protest. "I know that people are angry, and that's okay, and if you want to, take it out and send it my way," she told the protesters. "I urge you, don't put yourself at risk and don't put others at risk, either."

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