Wes Nakagiri

Livingston County Commissioner, District 3

wrong way whitmer 2Michigan and Indiana, two neighboring Midwestern states, are taking different paths toward re-opening their economies. This report compares these paths for two businesses that have been devastated by the COVID lockdown, restaurants, and personal services (air salons, barbershops, nail salons, spas, and tattoo parlors).

Often criticized for her draconian lockdown, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) is slow-walking the re-opening of restaurants and personal services. Whitmer has given no clear indication of when these establishments will gain her blessing to open.

Indiana Back On Track

On the other hand, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb (R), has published his plan weeks ago. Under his Back On Track Indiana plan, restaurants and personal service establishments, in 89 out of 92 counties, were allowed to open one week after the initiation of Phase 2 of his plan. With Phase 2 beginning on May 4, 2020, this meant that restaurants and personal services opened on May 11.

To open businesses must comply with some conditions such as social distancing and employee screening. Here are some requirements from Back OnTrack:

  • Personal services, such as hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, spas, and tattoo parlors. By appointment only with operational limitations. Employees must wear face coverings, work stations must be spaced to meet social distancing guidelines, and other requirements must be met. Customers should wear face coverings to the extent possible
  • Restaurants and bars that serve food may open at 50% capacity with operational limitations. Bar seating will be closed with no live entertainment. Servers and kitchen staff must wear face coverings.

A complete list of requirements can be found at https://backontrack.in.gov/files/BackOnTrack-IN_WhatsOpen-Closed-stage2.pdf.

While Stage 2 of Back On Track laid out requirements for personal services and restaurants, the plan also laid out requirements for geographic areas. Holcomb’s plan allowed all but three counties to enter into Stage 2 on May 4th. This meant that 96.4% of Indiana’s total square miles is moving forward with re-opening.

This excerpt from Back On Track shows Holcomb’s plan for re-opening for business in all Indiana counties.

  • Beginning May 4th Stage 2 may begin for all Indiana counties except Cass, Lake, and Marion Counties.
  • Stage 2 may begin on May 11 for Lake and Marion Counties
  • Stage 2 may begin on May 18 for Cass County
  • Please note that local governments may impose more restrictive guidelines
  • County and local governments will make decisions based on their policies and CDC guidelines

A detailed look at the three delayed counties showed that Lake and Marion counties are the two most highly populated counties. While Cass County is home to a Tyson meatpacking plant that experienced over 1000 COVID cases.

Indiana provides for local control

It was refreshing to see that Governor Holcomb’s Back On Track plan allowed for some degree of local control. Counties that were ready to move forward were allowed to do so, while counties still having COVID issues were delayed from re-opening. Plus, Holcomb allowed county and local governments to make decisions based on their policies and CDC guidelines.

Holcomb’s rational plan is the polar opposite of Governor Whitmer’s one-size-fits-all-don’t-open-any-barber-or-restaurant-plan.

Follow the COVID Data

An analysis of COVID cases was performed on the 89 Indiana counties which entered Phase 2 on May 4. Just as has been done in prior reports, the number of COVID cases is presented as the number of COVID cases per one million population. Indiana’s open counties had an average of 2756 COVID cases. The lowest of these 89 counties has 236 cases while the highest had 8272.

If Indiana is able to open up restaurants and personal services in counties with up to 8272 COVID cases per million, why can’t Michigan? Using 8272 cases per million as a benchmark would enable all but one Region in Michigan to open its restaurants and personal services businesses. Only Emergency Preparedness Region 2S (Wayne, Washtenaw, Monroe counties) would be delayed in opening up for business. A table with a complete set of COVID data is included at the end of his article.

As for Livingston County . . .  With its COVID rate of 1987 cases per million, Livingston County, Indiana would clearly be open for business. However, in real life, Livingston County, Michigan is closed for business as a Democrat Governor auditions for the role of Biden VP. Uh-huh, the only science Whitmer follows is political science.

When it comes to restaurants and personal services, the contrast between Indiana and Michigan is stunning. Indiana is open for business, Michigan is closed. Governor Holcomb examines the data and sees hope and opportunity for citizens, Governor examines that data and sees power and political ambition for herself.

While Holcomb is putting Indiana Back On Track, Whitmer is driving Michigan Off The Rails.

Reference Material

Michigan vs. Indiana Comparison

  • Indiana has 92 counties, Michigan has 83
  • Indiana population in 2018 was 6.695 million, 36,418 sq. mi of land, 183.84 persons/sq. mi.
  • Michigan population in 2018 was 9.996 million, 56,538.84 sq. mi of land., 176.58 persons/sq. mi.

Indiana Back On Track Plan
https://backontrack.in.gov/files/BackOnTrack-IN_WhatsOpen-Closed-stage2.pdf

Indiana COVID statistics
https://www.coronavirus.in.gov/2393.htm

Indiana Population density
http://www.usa.com/rank/indiana-state--population-density--county-rank.htm

Indiana county square miles
http://www.usa.com/rank/indiana-state--land-area--county-rank.htm

Cass County – Tyson Meatpacking Plant with 1000+ COVID cases
https://indianapublicmedia.org/news/1,000+-cases-and-one-hospital-cass-county-braces-for-even-more-covid-cases.php Tyson Meatpacking Plant has 1000+ May 1, 2020

Michigan COVID data
https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98163_98173_99207---,00.html

Indiana County Map (yellow counties were not included in Phase 2, May 4th start)

indiana state county map

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Row Date County Population Sq.Mi People
per sq.mi.

COVID Cases
per million

status
1 15-May Pike 12,733 334.24 38 236 open
2 15-May Gibson 33,586 487.49 69 238 open
3 15-May Adams 34,533 339.03 102 261 open
4 15-May Spencer 20,893 396.74 53 335 open
5 15-May Vermillion 15,952 256.88 62 439 open
6 15-May Wells 27,732 368.09 75 469 open
7 15-May Huntington 36,959 382.65 97 487 open
8 15-May Knox 38,181 516.03 74 576 open
9 15-May De Kalb 42,321 362.82 117 591 open
10 15-May Posey 25,641 409.57 63 624 open
11 15-May Kosciusko 77,790 531.38 146 643 open
12 15-May Martin 10,294 335.74 31 680 open
13 15-May Whitley 33,307 335.57 99 811 open
14 15-May Marshall 47,032 443.63 106 829 open
15 15-May Wayne 68,360 401.74 170 848 open
16 15-May Vigo 108,264 403.31 268 905 open
17 15-May Parke 17,200 444.66 39 930 open
18 15-May Fountain 17,002 395.66 43 941 open
19 15-May Clay 26,797 357.54 75 970 open
20 15-May Perry 19,452 381.73 51 977 open
21 15-May Starke 23,215 309.13 75 1,034 open
22 15-May Monroe 141,101 394.51 358 1,035 open
23 15-May Randolph 25,801 452.38 57 1,046 open
24 15-May Vanderburgh 180,877 233.48 775 1,078 open
25 15-May Jefferson 32,447 360.63 90 1,079 open
26 15-May Jay 21,279 383.91 55 1,081 open
27 15-May Union 7,382 161.22 46 1,084 open
28 15-May Blackford 12,576 165.08 76 1,113 open
29 15-May Sullivan 21,227 447.14 47 1,131 open
30 15-May Jasper 33,443 559.62 60 1,196 open
31 15-May Lagrange 37,759 379.62 99 1,218 open
32 15-May Owen 21,321 385.29 55 1,266 open
33 15-May Switzerland 10,514 220.63 48 1,332 open
34 15-May Tipton 15,688 260.54 60 1,339 open
35 15-May Warren 8,421 364.68 23 1,425 open
36 15-May Tippecanoe 178,135 499.81 356 1,504 open
37 15-May Dubois 42,170 427.27 99 1,636 open
38 15-May Fayette 23,955 215.01 111 1,670 open
39 15-May Daviess 32,156 429.49 75 1,773 open
40 15-May Washington 28,017 513.72 55 1,785 open
41 15-May Ohio 6,073 86.14 71 1,811 open
42 15-May Fulton 20,638 368.39 56 1,890 open
43 15-May Brown 15,074 311.98 48 1,924 open
44 15-May Benton 8,810 406.42 22 1,930 open
45 15-May Steuben 34,190 308.94 111 1,960 open
46 15-May Crawford 10,646 305.64 35 1,973 open
47 15-May Delaware 117,441 392.12 300 2,001 open
48 15-May Henry 49,227 391.88 126 2,031 open
49 15-May Wabash 32,492 412.43 79 2,093 open
50 15-May Grant 69,313 414.07 167 2,236 open
51 15-May Porter 165,819 418.15 397 2,243 open
52 15-May Rush 17,147 408.12 42 2,274 open
53 15-May Warrick 60,538 384.82 157 2,313 open
54 15-May Allen 360,990 657.31 549 2,488 open
55 15-May Putnam 37,728 480.53 79 2,492 open
56 15-May Pulaski 13,130 433.65 30 2,589 open
57 15-May Lawrence 45,970 449.17 102 2,697 open
58 15-May Elkhart 199,544 463.17 431 2,952 open
59 15-May Noble 47,497 410.84 116 3,032 open
60 15-May Dearborn 49,840 305.03 163 3,090 open
61 15-May La Porte 111,293 598.3 186 3,109 open
62 15-May Howard 82,914 293.06 283 3,112 open
63 15-May Morgan 69,343 403.97 172 3,259 open
64 15-May Floyd 75,431 147.93 510 3,314 open
65 15-May Hamilton 289,722 394.27 735 3,341 open
66 15-May St Joseph 266,916 457.85 583 3,361 open
67 15-May Clinton 32,987 405.07 81 3,517 open
68 15-May Clark 112,212 372.86 301 3,520 open
69 15-May Miami 36,394 373.84 97 3,545 open
70 15-May Ripley 28,601 446.43 64 3,671 open
71 15-May Carroll 20,068 372.22 54 3,737 open
72 15-May Scott 23,897 190.4 126 3,766 open
73 15-May Jennings 28,223 376.58 75 3,862 open
74 15-May Hancock 70,851 306.02 232 3,924 open
75 15-May Madison 130,688 451.91 289 4,033 open
76 15-May Montgomery 38,183 504.61 76 4,033 open
77 15-May Boone 59,246 422.91 140 4,203 open
78 15-May Harrison 39,216 484.52 81 4,233 open
79 15-May Greene 32,978 542.49 61 4,639 open
80 15-May Franklin 22,980 384.43 60 4,656 open
81 15-May Newton 14,140 401.76 35 4,809 open
82 15-May Bartholomew 78,628 406.91 193 4,871 open
83 15-May Lake 493,140 498.96 988 5,443 closed
84 15-May Orange 19,756 398.39 50 6,023 open
85 15-May Shelby 44,428 411.15 108 6,190 open
86 15-May Hendricks 150,977 406.91 371 6,604 open
87 15-May Johnson 143,789 320.43 449 6,621 open
88 15-May White 24,485 505.12 48 6,698 open
89 15-May Jackson 43,127 509.31 85 7,049 open
90 15-May Decatur 26,112 372.57 70 8,272 open
91 15-May Marion 919,336 396.3 2,320 8,477 closed
92 15-May Cass 38,730 412.15 94 39,917 closed
93 15-May Livingston 191,224 565.3 338 1,987 Michigan
94 15-May Region 1 1,084,746 5843.33 186 2,066 Michigan
95 15-May Region 2N 2,293,297 2518.24 911 6,357 Michigan
96 15-May Region 2S 2,275,295 1867.43 1,218 8,973 Michigan
97 15-May Region 3 1,102,765 8616.53 128 3,188 Michigan
98 15-May Region 5 963,478 5348.53 180 2,039 Michigan
99 15-May Region 6 1,530,749 7832.53 195 2,561 Michigan
100 15-May Region 7 444,164 8805.86 50 977 Michigan
101 15-May Region 8 301,151 15706.39 19 322 Michigan