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Lansing — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is expected to announce an extension to the state's stay-home order on Thursday. 

Whitmer hinted strongly last week that she would extend the order, which expires April 13, but has given no timeframe for the length of that extension.

"We're all making a sacrifice to be home and I know its hard; it's really important that we continue do that," Whitmer told Sinclair Broadcast Group Wednesday. "Precisely how long the order will take effect for, you'll have to tune in tomorrow to see."  

►NEW: Whitmer extends stay home order through April 30

She tightened the stay-home order last week with further restrictions for people exposed to COVID-19 or feeling symptoms of COVID-19. The order also prevented employers from retaliating against workers who had to stay home.

The original stay-home order was put in place March 23. The action brought the state's already slowing economy to almost a complete stop and set off confusion among businesses and workers unsure whether they were deemed essential under the order.

Whitmer's stay-at-home order is set to expire the same day as her order requiring the closure of bars and restaurants. 

The Michigan Legislature on Tuesday extended the governor's emergency declaration 23 days, through April 30. The legislative action did not extend any of the governor's orders, but it did extend her powers to issue or amend those orders. 

Even as Whitmer is poised to extend the stay-home order, Republican legislative leaders have expressed interest in transitioning some sectors of the state's economy back to work. 

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, announced Tuesday the formation of a bipartisan work group that will work with business and medical professions to develop a guide for residents to transition safely back to work.

On Tuesday, House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, said he would continue to monitor the situation in Michigan and work with Whitmer and President Donald Trump to move the state forward.

"We need to quickly transition to begin asking what’s 'safe vs. unsafe' instead of what’s 'essential vs. non-essential,'" he wrote on Twitter. "If we take this risk-based approach soon, we can avoid an even larger catastrophe."

eleblanc@detroitnews.com

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