Michigan flooding adds challenges to state’s reopening amid pandemic

MIDLAND COUNTY — Two dams rupturing in Michigan’s Midland County is adding to the state’s struggle in reopening during the coronavirus pandemic.

11,000 people have evacuated, and floodwater continues to overwhelm the towns.

Officers of the Philippine American Community Center of Michigan told ABS-CBN News they’re checking on fellow Filipinos in the area that might have been affected.

But the continuing COVID lockdown could hamper that task.

On Thursday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced relaxing some stay at home orders in the midst of protests in the capitol.

Nonessential medical procedures and reopening of retail businesses and auto dealerships are now allowed.

“The orders also allow gatherings of 10 people or less as long as people continue to practice social distancing, wear your masks.”

“We have actually not resumed any of our regular events or meetings, we have canceled a lot. But we are going on virtual conferences so we can still communicate and do something while we are all home trying to be safe,” said resident Arcie Gemino.

One of the last times PACCM gathered was for a valentine’s day event.

“we adjusted very well, as a family and a community to this pandemic, because you know Filipinos are resilient. We adjust to anything. At first, we were all afraid of it but then even if we are all separated, we got closer together through this social media,” said president Becky Tungol.

The wolverine state’s slow reopening has drawn the ire of the president who has openly supported protesters calling for the restrictions to be lifted.

Wilmar Suan said he supports the governor’s slow reopening process, but understands other people’s frustrations.

“I agree with those other county commissioners, you know the governor maybe got a lot of those resources. But they just want it written so everybody understands what are those guidelines for slow opening and it’s not just a guess and pulling up one industry and we can do this.”

President Trump visited a Ford motor plant on Thursday amid tension with the governor who said the May 28th reopening date might get pushed.

“This also means, we will have another short term stay at home extension order will likely be necessary and you’ll hear more about this in the coming days.”

Suan, who has been in quarantine for over two months, is not in a hurry.

“I still feel like unless a vaccine is in place, we are not completely safe.”

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