Detroit City Council slams 'irresponsible' push for 'premature' reopening

Christine MacDonald
The Detroit News

Detroit — City Council unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday morning urging against the "premature lifting" of coronavirus physical distancing policies pushed by "irresponsible" public leaders. 

Brenda Jones

More robust testing needs to be in place along with contact tracing to better track the exposure to people who have tested positive, Council President Brenda Jones said. The council resolution also urged that before regulations are relaxed, there should be assurances of enough personal protection gear and intensive care beds. 

"Some irresponsible, public leaders have been arguing without any significant supporting evidence that Americans should stop or at least drastically limit these successful public health protections in the interest of 'reopening' the economy, sending people back to inherently dangerous and unhealthy spaces for work, school, worship and commerce before the virus is adequately controlled," the resolution reads. 

The resolution cited Detroit as one of the hardest-hit communities in the nation and noted the pandemic's disproportionate toll on the state's black residents. In Michigan, just 14% of the population is black but 41% of the state's coronavirus deaths have occurred among black residents, according to state data.

Jones said she is concerned too many people are still out in public without masks. 

"I know there has been a lot of pressure to get the state back open," she said. "We have to be extremely careful. People are constantly losing their lives with this virus."

Councilman Roy McCalister said he's worried officials don't know whether the area has reached a peak in cases. 

"It could very well go the sky’s the limit in getting out of hand," McCalister said. 

The resolution also urges businesses to take steps to combat the virus spread, including requiring masks of employees and customers.