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April 24, 2020 3:00 PM, EDT

Michigan’s Extended Order Keeps Auto Industry’s Restart in Limbo

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer sits in a Ford Ranger pickup truck during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in 2019.Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer sits in a Ford Ranger pickup truck during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in 2019. (Sean Proctor/Bloomberg News)

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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended her stay-home order another two weeks to May 15 and kept the state’s carmakers and suppliers in limbo over how soon they’ll be able to reopen.

The amended order Whitmer announced April 24 doesn’t specifically address whether vehicle or parts-making factories are critical infrastructure. She declined to say during a press conference whether such facilities will be able to open before the middle of next month.

“We’ve been doing an incredible amount of work to make sure we have got protocols and a thoughtful cadence for assessing risk,” Whitmer said. “There will hopefully be some things we can engage in with proper protocols. We are engaging with business leaders of various sizes and various sectors.”

General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV have been laying the groundwork for reopening manufacturing operations in the state that’s home to their U.S. headquarters, though all three have said their plans have been tentative and dependent on government orders. The United Auto Workers preempted Whitmer’s announcement April 23 with a statement saying it supported Whitmer extending her order.

“We strongly suggest to our companies in all sectors that an early May date is too soon and too risky to our members, their families and their communities,” UAW President Rory Gamble said.

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